What might Live at Pompeii have sounded like if Syd Barrett had still been an active member of Pink Floyd? Or what could have Hawkwind sounded like if they had been driven to be even more psychedelically heavy? Maybe the answer to both question is: Something like L‘Ira Del Baccano! Their new album Cosmic Evoked Potentials shows the intrigue of questions like these and also what mighta, coulda, woulda been!
Being a history teacher during the daytime hours, I have to refrain from these “What would have happened if….”-questions, because they do not get us anywhere as we rather have to learn from the mistakes of the past rather than trying to find the impossible nullification of these events by asking stuff like “What would have happened if one of the attacks on Hitler had succeeded?”. The past is the past but what we draw from its mistakes is our lead on a better future.
L’Ira Del Baccano from Italy have surely taken their share of lessons from the past by listening pretty closely to what some of the old masters of the years between 1966 and 1974 had to say – those guys in bands that re-invented what Rock music had to sound like once the times of the Rock’n’Roll greats of days before had gone and a new wave of bands had emerged like Pink Floyd (with said Syd Barrett being in the band rather than a myth), Hawkwind and 13th Floor Elevators but also bands like Blue Cheer, Sir Lord Baltimore and Captain Beyond. Not to forget those oscillatory and reverb masters in German Krautrock bands like Can, Neu! or early Kraftwerk, who also had some huge influence on the new sound.
The sounds on their new record are winding, oscillating gently and with just the right amount of punch to keep them interesting for all fans of heavy music. Tracks like the title track are brilliantly layered and know how to keep on meandering up to the point when a harsh riff supported by several other elements – like the synth throughout or the crunchy drum parts towards the end of the song. The five tracks (including two other ten minutes) stretch across 40 minutes and are able to do justice to the blue Avatar-metalhead on the cover of the record. He would surely enjoy his time aboard an interstellar spaceship crossing the milky way avoiding to hit any asteroids or smaller moons while nodding his head to the psychedelic parts and headbanging to the heavier, louder ones, while hitting the controls with his fists pumping in the air or the open hand searching for the steering wheel. The red veins on his face would surely pulsate faster and stronger indicating the level of arousal inside his ears and nerves. Maybe he would be shoving his buttocks from left to right, from back to front on his pilot chair searching for the next bar with the sign Tonight: the Mos Eisley Cantina Band performing the biggest hit of Kyuss with the means of Hawkwind.
However, do not mistake the band to be a novelty act, because these musicians surely know what they are doing and where. One larger chunk on the record is the remain of a jam session in a villa close to Rome dating back to the 17th century – that part is from a longer improv session jam they did there while trying to come up with some ideas. So, once again, L’Ira Del Baccano del were influenced by the past to deliver us songs for the future. They didn’t think about what had happened between these old walls but rather let the atmosphere of times long gone guide them. Great record for all genre fans and maybe a perfect gateway for people who want to know where the Stoner Rock epicenter is nowadays – it’s located not to far away from Pompeii!