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Nebula | Atomic Ritual | review | rock | Lollipop

Nebula

Atomic Ritual (Liquor and Poker)
by Brian Varney

A return to the swirl-resplendent heights of earlier triumphs after the rather moribund concerns of the disappointment that was Charged, this set, generic title aside, sets the controls for the center of the universe, which is where you want 'em set when Nebula is at the helm. The first and most obvious influence this time around is early Monster Magnet. The opening title track is either a tribute to the wonders of Spine of God, or an attempt to write its post-humous tenth track. In any case, it's welcomed with open arms and sets the tone for the haze of good times to come in the next thirty-something minutes. This mention of the album's length does bring me to one area in which Atomic Church deviates from the band's past, and that is the relatively succinct songs. In spite of the fact that the album marks a return to the more psychedelic sounds of the band's past, there's also an increased focus on actual songcraft, with none of the lengthy, exploratory pieces that popped up on earlier releases. The longest track here is just over five minutes. This, combined with the fact that this is the band's first album for a fairly big label (Liquor and Poker is a new label, but part of the Century Media family), might cause the brain-damaged former punks who listen to this kinda grunt to cry "sellout," but I can't really imagine, even in my most surreal dreams, anything this laden with wah pedals and general trippiness being embraced by MTV culture, so just call it the sound of a band tidying up the loose ends of its sound, OK? Yeah, I know, loose ends and crap that doesn't always fit are part of psychedelic rock, but Nebula manages to razor away a lot of the superfluous meanderings and still sound pretty tripped-out, so I guess the motto here is "Don't question success." There are enough bad records to go around, so when you stumble on a good one, just hold onto it, hope it doesn't get away, and above all, don't ask stupid questions.
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