BY FRED MILLS
If you nodded your head in recognition of the label URL above, you will also be intrigued to learn that Invisible Hands features the estimable talents of none other than Alvarius B., aka Alan Bishop of the Sun City Girls. Among the guests is another SCG associate, Eyvind Kang, this project is specifically a teamup between Bishop and Egyptian musicians Cherif Al Masri, Aya Hemeda, Adham Zidan and Magued Nagati (the first two were in the group Eskenderella). Don’t think for one moment that Teslam is some kind of western-musician-goes-ethnic-exotica outing, though; it’s a full-on psychedelic rock excursion, though “exotic” could certainly be applied in places as an apt description.
From the bloozy swagger of opening track “Invisible Hands” and the cosmic call-and-response vocal harmonies that characterize “Over Easy” to the pounding, fuzztone guitar-powered “Weasel Down” and the myriad changes involving strings, piano and wobbly fretboard plucks that give “The Blaze” a suitelike feel, Teslam is a keeper. Its prevailing vibe may be psych, but elements of vintage Prog and neoclassical also surface, while the typically prominent vocals lend it an unexpected (considering the players) poppy accessibility. For longtime SCG fans, it’s a delicious treat that arrives just in time to close out the year.
DOWNLOAD: “Priests & Poets,” “Weasel Down”