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Masters Of Reality | Welcome to the Western Lodge | review | rock | Lollipop

Masters Of Reality

Welcome to the Western Lodge (Spitfire)
by Craig Regala

Ace producer Chris Goss (Kyuss, QOTSA, Fatso Johnson, Stone Temple Pilots) reanimates his guitar, tacks it to his muse, and runs his smooth blues rock roots through the looking glass. What we see is his lighter, psychedelically-inflected space-folk side. It's great. Back when his first LP came out, it was hailed (I hailed it like a motherfucker) as a similar move to the Black Crowes Anglo-American '70s-rooted blues rock and roll. The second Masters of Reality disc, Sunrise on the Suffer Bus, started getting weirder in a stuff-moving-around-just-out-of-the-corner-of-your-eye way. The rhythms started to roll in longer, circular patterns, the storytelling got more tweaked, the "rock attack" moved out of the scope of "rawk!" and more into "roooll" while keeping a warm, conversational tone in voice and guitar. You could tell the jugband google/blues were the next door down if you thought about it, not that I did.

This one, well, it keeps on the same path, as long as you remember the path goes through the surrealist museum and Syd Barrett's house. Luckily, rather than re-creating a "psychedelic" period piece, Goss and cohorts keep it contemporary and basically rockist, even as some electronics outside of the hit-and-plucked are used. Really, if you can hold the Queens of the Stone Age recent "fuck it, we like '80's New Wave and crazy drones-are-us early '70s Krautrock" against one buttcheek and classicist-cum-nuttiness Cream/Ginger Baker/Move's Roy Wood against the other, Welcome to the Western Lodge will fit your "O" just right. Oh yeah, cut five, "Take a Shot at the Clown," is a waltz. The one after it is a strummy campfire-at-Stonehenge with something that sounds like a viola and would've made a great Be Bop Deluxe song. "Who?" you say? BBD were part of the mid-'70s "rock" scene stuck between Todd Rungren's Utopia and Queen. Their leading light, Bill Nelson, went on to do some cool arty stuff with guys like Robert Fripp, Japan (the band, not the nation), Ultravox, and other "post-punk" "New Wave" persons/combos. In 25 years, you'll be explaining the Masters of Reality similarly, so I just thought I'd lay down a template for you. In summation: A good listen for the long haul.
(101 Bay Ave. Hicksville, NY 11801)


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