Wall Of Death Loveland on 2LP + Download
There's so much that went into French psychedelic trio Wall of Death's new album Loveland. There's the band itself: Gabriel Matringe, the guitarist and ex-cello player, and Brice Borredon, who grew up in the country in the south of France and who dedicated himself completely to the piano at age 6, and Adam Ghoubali, who taught himself drums after hearing the Doors. Then there's Innovative Leisure's Hanni El Khatib, the genre-smashing guitarist who shares songs with GZA and who'd devote his most ambitious production work yet to Wall of Death. There's the giant stack of vintage equipment – organ, synthesizer, electric piano and a positively luscious Mellotron.
And of course there are the decades of inspiration and dedication that push Loveland past the limits of what "psychedelic" means in 2015 – a connection that sparks to life with '60s groundbreakers like Soft Machine and King Crimson and leaves a comet trail across Creation Records on its way to Radiohead (and past Tame Impala) to a destination beyond the horizon. With able and agile studio help from El Khatib and engineers Jonny Bell (also of Innovative Leisure's Crystal Antlers) and Sonny DiPerri, Wall of Death have created a dense and deeply individual album that makes an instant into a lifetime and more: "Loveland is like the last steps you do in the desert," says Matringe. "Dry and exhausted, one minute before dying."
If there's one album everyone in Wall of Death owns, they say, it's Pink Floyd's transcendental Meddle, and that underwater sound – as depicted on Meddle's famous album cover – is everywhere on Loveland, especially on nod-along songs like "For A Lover" or "Blow The Clouds." But then there's suddenly an unexpected Terry Riley-style synthesizer fractalization, and then suddenly an unexpected Pink Fairies-style guitar-break, and then the song itself powers down to make space for "Dreamland," which plays like This Heat miraculously allowed to remix slivers of My Bloody Valentine. Listen close and hear how the final moments of closer song "Memory Pt. 1 and 2" slip seamlessly into the title-track opener – that means this album is endless, if you'd like it to be.
And in between, says Matringe, is exactly everything Wall of Death knew they really needed on this album: "The sound between love, paradise and fantasy," he says, "with songs about love, freedom, youth and hope. For me, it's the spectrum of what we love."