Say no to drugs, kids! Whilst my own experience with them consists almost solely of daily insulin and caffeine hits, The Wire and Breaking Bad – the two cultural cornerstones around which we can all agree our twenty-first century lives should be built – have taught us resoundingly that they fuck up your life and lead to naught but utter despair.
It’s therefore imperative that you absolutely DON’T listen to the unambiguously-titled Doobie Wonderland the latest addition to the absurdly extensive Acid Mothers Temple discography.
The band has released 45 albums to date under various similarly-named guises: this, under the Cosmic Inferno brand is their third of 2013. As with the other albums released under this moniker, Doobie Wonderland is closer to hard rock territory than those as The Melting Paraiso U.F.O., almost as if someone told Sunn O))) to lighten up a bit. It remains though an indisputably fun album; the opening track is ‘Do You Remember Doobie Wonderland?’ and the band are insisting that you really wish you did. Hell, even the album cover above or Holy-Shitsnacks-THIS- Artwork should be enough to let the casual buyer know that this is an album that’s letting itself go.
Despite only containing five songs, Doobie Wonderland still manages to clock in at around an hour and a half. The length of the individual songs is evidence enough that the band is being a bit self-indulgent, but wisely they don’t spend 20 minutes on a song trying to force the listener’s mind to work overtime with a plethora of challenging and introspective ideas. Instead each number here is built around a central premise – squalls of guitar noise on the opener and ‘M.J. Love 666’, frothy synth lines on ‘Planet Golden Love’ and ‘Shining O and Jupiter ?’ (the latter reminiscent of Ed O’Brien’s beautiful little fill on Radiohead’s ‘Airbag’), a surf rock riff on ‘Dance With Space Gypsy Queen’ (a song that oddly sounds a bit like Wild Nothing’s ‘Ride’) and so on – and enjoy messing around with it for a while. It’s to band leader/guitarist Kawabata Makoto’s credit that it sounds as though the band are welcoming you to the party rather than playing the obnoxious neighbour.
Makoto has proved over the years that he’s a quite brilliant guitarist and proves to be again here; although he’s often happy to let tracks devolve into extended jam sessions, they’re more reminiscent of Michael Karoli’s raw, fucked up squalls than, say, Joe Satriani’s wanky guitar equivalent of an The Voice contestant hitting twelve notes when one will do. Interestingly though the album shows the most ambition when it drops the guitars and goes for an ocean of synthesisers on ‘Planet Golden Love’ and ‘Shining O and Jupiter ?’. On these occasions it’s like an extreme Animal Collective, taking neat little pop songs and ripping them apart into cacophonous, brilliant absurdities. Wherever Doobie Wonderland is, it sounds fucking great.
9Dan Lucas's Score