Obsession can be an ugly beast; consuming something over and over again, whether it be just through observation or through a more “active” kind of consumption, can be detrimental to your health. But, like many things, when enjoyed moderately, it can also be a great deal of fun. Musical obsession as an especially pertinent example: if your chosen album/band/sound don’t overshadow everything else to the point of stagnation, you’re good. Over the past few weeks, however, I’ve been flirting dangerously with that point of no return when listening to We Are Impala‘s Visions. The album has edged nearly everything else in 2019 so far, claiming stake to my playlist as very few albums have in the past six months.
When you look into what this album is about, this is no surprise; it’s basically engineered to suit my tastes. At its core, Visions draws on grooves; whether doing space rock, post-rock, stoner or progressive rock, the bass is always loud, the drums always go hard, and everything is just centered around being impactful and direct. But the album does tick all of those boxes and they are some of my favorite boxes. “Rituals” for example, the first “proper” track, channels a more thick, direct, and meaty approach to the sound, reminding us of set and setting‘s brand of post-metal. But “Golden Face” is full on Elder minus the vocals, riffs upon riffs swimming alongside progressive rock influences like King Crimson or Pink Floyd in the form of incandescent synths backing lines, clashing beautifully with the inerrant bass. Meanwhile, “Alpha Centauri” is like a tour de force of these elements, turning everything up to eleven to create a juggernaut of volume, feedback, and cool chords.
Whatever the album does, it’s washed in the colors of its cover art, psychedelic tones exploding into a dazzling kaleidoscope of sound. This could have easily become a scattered experiment, lost in all the different approaches found on it. But that’s the thing: they are approaches. The paths might be different, but they all leads to the same groovy core, to making punctual, effective, and moving stoner-tinged, instrumental.