By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
I've listened to this disc every which friggin' way: straight, stoned, sitting down, standing up, standing on my head, standing in a full bathtub holding a plugged-in toaster. I've played it cranked up and turned all the way down, in the office and in the car and in the house (scaring the shit out of the dog, who apparently hears things on this album I can't, and fine by me). Still can't make out most of the lyrics on the songs with words (the first three, give or take, plus Song Five, the not-at-all-pretentiously titled "The Hypnofiction"), but that hardly seems the point with these Denton-based feedback-fancying, piano-tinkling, art-rock-spaced-out-tuned-in-hopped-up-fucked-up psychedelic proggers who like to make "soundtracks" for movies that don't exist, except maybe in the balls of Tom Byron. A dozen listens in, and it's either the ugliest record I've heard in a long-long or the most beautiful, and probably a little of both--all that LOUDsoftLOUDsoftLOUD razzle-dazzle can throw a man off his game. Either way, you don't listen to The Falcon Project for fun, but since when is listening to music fun in these drought-stricken days of teen tits and Madonna Machine Music and white dopes on rap? Better this experiment than pre-fab product falling off the assembly line into the wide-open maws of 12-year-old gun freaks hooked on digital crack. This shit should frighten the hell out of them: Scare the kids straight with a little old-fashioned Art Rock.
Perusing this fine publication's archives, I stumbled across a reference to "The Falcon Project" and "John Coltrane"/"Ornette Coleman"/"Miles Davis," which makes about as much sense as Dennis Miller and Monday Night Football; the last thing I'd confuse this with is jazz, even the avant-garde snack-pack variety, which is about as appealing as prison rape (and makes the same noise: SQUONK). The band members' love of "jazz" (OK, maybe a little Mahavishnu Orchestra, and a little goes a long, long way), commingled with their desire to be taken seriously by those who'd dismiss their daydream noodlings as ponderous noise (and it isn't, ever), might mislead and confuse the consumer looking for a good time; the kids might think this is for the brain, not the body. But Lights Karma Actionis rock-rawk-ROCK, no matter how hard they try to dress it up by getting all deep and shit (the only thing I can make out in the opening song, "New Day on the Rise," is a little sumpin-sumpin about "words of oppression" taking "over the masses," before front man Wanz Dover starts moanin' and groanin' like Eddie Vedder when he means it). It's rock because it's cathartic, loud, noisy, plugged in; it's rock because it hits the gut and pulls the groin; it's rock because it's messy (not sloppy). It's rock, commaperiodexclamationpoint.
A dozen listens in--or maybe more, maybe less, because it's hard to tell with songs that construct a singular, cohesive brick wall of sound--and it means something different every time, if only because it allows room enough for the listener to fill in the blanks (the words never get in the way, even if they're supposed to). From opening static scrawl to stuck-in-the-middle mood to closing beep-beep-beep (the "bonus" track, buried at No. 15, sounds like nothing so much as a truck back-back-backing up), Lights Karma Actionnever lets up, even when turning it down. Songs bleed into one another, guitars bleed into keybs, keybs bleed into tablas until it's the most gorgeous car wreck this side of J.G. Ballard. You can hear the "jazz" (mellow organs mooing on track two, "Orange Power," which possibly refers to solar energy) and vibe on the "R&B" (the third song, "Soul Divider," sounds like something Greg Dulli cooked up after a binger), but you can tell these guys are happiest when they rock, ambient effects be damned (oh, and they will be). Only problem is, the record starts too high and ends too low; the so-called "cosmic symphony" that appears eight tracks in is better suited to a stoner's Pink Floyd laser-light show extravaganza--by then, I'm out. If you need proof these fellows are prog, check the song titles: "Meditations #3: The Secret Life of Plants" and "Eci-ruam," ad nauseam. Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends. Main reason this album's better than the last one: no Sonic Youth cover.
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