A psychedelic rock trio that have broken ground into hazy, smoky stoner power territory, Sublunar Express are one of Montreal’s most intriguing new prospects when it comes to music. Formed in later 2017, the band have recently released their debut, eponymous album, and we couldn’t wait to sink our teeth into it.
Initially released on YouTube before quickly branching out onto other platforms, the self-titled released is a collection five expansive and wonderfully erratic tracks. Opening with ‘Jet Lag’, the album conjures immediate comparisons with early Gang of Four and even The Doors, just with a far dark edge and a heavier reliance on deep, rolling bass tones. Relentless in its simplicity, ‘Jet Lag’ is a broken locomotive rolling downhill, building momentum and pushing forward with seemingly unstoppable force. Guitar chords float in and out of view, crafting a psychedelic wave of sound while that immutable bass pushes on and on without care of apology in a brilliant showing of strength.
Second cut ‘New Moon’ is lighter in approaching, opting for a more subtle, almost melancholic intro, but don’t let it fool you, beneath the gentle ambience is the same twisted spirit of its predecessor, and while the track isn’t as immediately impressive, it’s easy to lose yourself in the hazy atmospherics. By the time third track ‘Electric Sea’ hits, it’s easy to see that Sublunar Express have far more to offer than shades of dark Krautrock, offering up a delicate, almost cinematic instrumental the lets you pause before the next track comes crashing in.
Quite possibly the most impressive song on the album, ‘Splinter’ acts as a reprise of the opening track, bringing the same dark energy to the fore and blending new-age Krautrock with an ingrained psychedelic touch, including a vast array of surprises, delights, and wandering melodies. Last, but not least comes ‘The Pilot Is Dead’, a nine-minute stroll through all of the band’s strengths, whims, and influences. Beginning with a slow build of lingering guitar strings, continuous percussion, and ashen atmospherics, the track is filled with light, flickering segments of sound that come together to form one cohesive track. Akin to the likes of Preoccupations in their craft, the ‘The Pilot Is Dead’ is a masterstroke of songwriting, holding your focus until the very end.
An impressive debut album, it’s clear to hear that the band have drawn on the thematic similarities between space and the deep sea, marrying Krautrock and psychedelia with a much darker, post punk and post-rock influence. The tracks all have their own character but fit together seamlessly to create an evolving narrative of twists, turns, and glowing moments.