The Upshot: A perfect prescription of kosmiche space rock, Madchester shoegaze, and dreamy, Floydian psych fromNorth Carolina’s Queen City.
BY FRED MILLS
No, it’s not a font glitch on your screen: Based on the album’s sleeve art, this Charlotte, NC, band Interstella℞s does indeed employ the prescription signifier as part of their name. And that’s more than appropriate—as is the title I Keep Coming Down—considering the druggywoozycool vibe of this remarkable record. (Good luck with the Googling, though.)
As crafted by studio auteurs Jason Herring and Paul Jensen, along with some fellow Queen City mainstays, I Keep Coming Down sets the controls for the heart of the kosmiche sun, charting a shoegazey trajectory guaranteed to keep the synapses pinging. The Interstella℞s album is billed as remixes from 2000-01 sessions for Firefly in a Headlight, although you wouldn’t get that from the songtitles here, as there’s only a subtle overlap (such as “Sweetdreaming,” referencing early song “Daydreaming”; and “Blues in Drag,” a live version of the prior “Blues in Drag”). And regardless, the record is utterly compelling in its own right, from the shimmering, shuddering, Spacemen 3-meets-The Church opening track “This Close to Venus” to the return-to-Madchester-acid-house rock of “Sweetdreaming” to the anthemic atmospherics of “Stillwater” (somebody in this band has studied his Pink Floyd bootlegs closely).
And for NC trainspotters, here’s also a track, featuring guest vocalists Hope Nichols (from the late, great Fetchin Bones) and The Mighty D.R., titled “River Euphrates”—when you consider some of the other songtitles here, such as “China Mall,” “Leggo My Echoes,” and “Electric Sheep,” it’s no stretch to presume that the artists here not only know their musical and cultural cosmology, they revel in it. All in all, one of this season’s—hell, make it the entire year’s—most unexpected sonic treats.
Oh, and by the way, gentlemen—apologies for the capital “R” in the Interstella℞s name throughout this review, but there doesn’t appear to be any way to make the prescription symbol in lower case. Call it a font glitch? Either way, we’re looking forward to a refill, and soon.
DOWNLOAD: “Sweetdreaming,” “Stillwater,” “Echoes”