Like an astral cruiser approaching the planetary atmosphere, the sky is drenched in kaleidoscopic colour. The sonicboom blasts away everything in sight, stripping the earth bare as the ground below trembles under the cosmic weight of what is approaching. The swirling vortex of heaviness opens the sky to the other side, from where all manner of wailing sounds can be heard. Through this vortex emerges the holiest of crafts – it is the return of the Mothership! Heavier than ever before, this robust space vessel – helmed by three burly Texans – has returned to our planet from its longest trip to bless the people with a gift from dimensions untold: the gift of High Strangeness. And blessed are we, for this gift is one humongous ride through eight shades of heavy psych euphoria.
Out on March 17th on both Heavy Psych Sounds and Ripple Music, Mothership’s High Strangeness is an intergalactic magic carpet of electric ecstasy. From start to finish the trio of Kelley & Kyle Juett and Judge Smith blast through colossal riff-centric soundscapes with a combination of powerful vocals, perfectly executed drum patterns and conscience-expanding solos. In the process of taking us on a ride through the universes they themselves have frequented, the band come out heavier and more driven; the listener wiser and enlightened. It’s almost as if Mothership have fully grown from their days of extravagant jams through the cosmos and have moulded all their glorious influences together to further cement their own sound, for High Strangeness comes out as a more distinguished album than their previous two, and just as triumphant.
Though not quite as far-out as the self-titled and II, this album offers up blistering textures that set your mind ablaze not just with the psychedelic overtones we have come to love but also with a newly overt tendency to rock harder than their contemporaries. Not that they haven’t done so in the past, but it feels different on this album. Whereas songs like ‘Ride the Sun’ and lead single ‘Crown of Lies’ tear through the fabric of space until they both supernova, the uplifting fuzz of ‘Helter Skelter’ and the gargantuan heaviness of ‘Midnight Express’ come out as surprisingly straightforward numbers. Take it as implementing the best of both worlds: whilst ‘High Strangeness’ and ‘Eternal Trip’ offer exactly what their titles suggest, the monumental riff of ‘Speed Dealer’ ebbs and flows between some of the bands most dynamic freak-outs. Far from losing their steam, the music is simply just more focused and bold; frankly they are far better for it!
A new Mothership album is always an excuse to celebrate and High Strangeness does not disappoint. Cranking up the volume to eleven elevates the listener high above the crumbling crust of the earth to a higher state of being. There is a reason why they are one of the most prolific bands in the scene, and this album solidifies their claim as the rightful heirs to the throne of heavy music – a throne only the goddess can bestow upon them. If this doesn’t satisfy even the hardiest of followers then no trip can save them. Though only a brief trip – at thirty-three minutes it is their shortest to date – it is one that will stay with you aeons after the record comes to an earth-shattering close.
1. High Strangeness
2. Ride the Sun
3. Midnight Express
4. Crown of Lies
5. Helter Skelter
6. Eternal Trip
7. Wise Man
8. Speed Dealer
Kelley Juett – guitars / vocals
Kyle Juett – bass / vocals
Judge Smith – drums