The lesser-known cousin of psychedelic rock, Krautrock, has an obscurity can only be counterbalanced against its pervasive influence. Whether it’s the shimmering soundscapes of Faust, the rhythmic minimalism of Kraftwerk or the monumental improvisation of Can, the distinctive 70s genre continues to resonate within popular music. Despite the genre’s allure, trails of contemporary imitators leave a cautionary tale. It can be all too easy to mimic, overestimate or over-utilise the genre’s past greatness to ill effect.
Enmeshing off-kilter psych-pop with the convulsive spontaneity of Krautrock, Spaceman strive to achieve more. Hailing from Freemantle WA, the 5 (sometimes 6)-piece are intent on saturating the listener in swirling, explorative and lo-fi pop. Drawing on bizarre DIY visuals, progressive jams, free spirited experimentation and ambient sonic hazes, the group instil their distinctive sound with all the ephemeral oddness of their German antecedents.
Mutating riffs, cosmic synths and futuristic surrealism blend magically on krautrock kings, Spaceman’s new single, Grains of Sand.
Spaceman’s latest single establishes an adeptness at spreading their psych sound outwards into the sonic richness of Krautrock obscurity. Evocative of reluctant genre luminaries NEU!, Grains Of Sand opens with the distinctive shuddering of a motorik drum machine. This quickly gives way to the majestic lock-groove of a conventional kit. Despite the percussive sparsity, there’s a certain alignment with the relentless rhythmic broadsides of Tame Impala, circa InnerSpeaker.
The introduction of drifting guitar textures take the listener on an upward trajectory. While it’s these distinctive licks which drive the track, the fretwork situates itself against hallucinatory synth experimentation and echo-laden vocals to create a supernatural sense of space. Combining mutating cosmic riffs and the incessant drones of jilted synthesisers, Grains Of Sand arrives at a warmly futuristic surrealism.
Wisps of vocals melody drop in and out of the mix with a casual haphazardness. Layered vocals conjure a dreamlike quality. The syllabic delivery of lyric “Take my hand and I’ll show the colour of sound” urges the listener away from worldly concerns and beckons towards a state of auditory immersion.
Unlike the regimented cohesion Krautrock dictates, Spaceman aren’t afraid to let loose. An accepting tempo complimented by an ascendant guitar solo provides blistering euphoria and a climactic moment of release.
Grains Of Sand balances electronic minimalism, experimentation and mind-bending lyrics to create an entrancingly short-circuited sonic experience. Yet there are some more conventional pop leanings here too. It’s not difficult to picture Spaceman’s work alongside the neo-psychedelia of contemporaries Pond, The Flaming Lips and King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, and giving each a run for their money.
Spaceman’s Palm Haus LP will be dropping June 24. Pre-order it here!