Album Review

Raccoo-oo-oon – “Behold Secret Kingdom ” – [release the bats]

Daryl Licht   10/26/2007   A Library, CD

Iowa City???s prolific Racoo-oo-oon returns with their most cohesive, raucous, and best release to date, ???Behold Secret Kingdom???. The
Racoo-oo-oon sound is built on a foundation of percussion – ranging from simple, heavy tribal pounding to minimal, organic basement percussion improvisations, and even the percussive effects of elements not traditionally associated with the ???rhythm section??? of a “rock” band, such as tripped-out electronics. They then pile on (in varying combinations and intensities on each track) noisy blasts of guitar, droning, gurgling synths and electronic washes, wailing saxophone, and seemingly wordless, reverbed and delayed vocals (more like moans and wails) that function more as an additional instrument in this awesome aural assault, than as a means to convey any actual lyrical content. The final result of this sonic synthesis are these eight incredible tracks of joyous free-psych

The excellent opening track ???Black Branches??? sets the tone for the entire album. Like most of the tracks on this release, it begins with a vaguely ???normal??? heavy rock progression that builds as it develops, with additional dissonant guitar, wailing vocals, electronic noises, and percussion increasing the tempo, intensity, and volume of the piece until it reaches the breaking point – collapses – and then coalesces, only to begin the cycle all over again on the next track. So proceeds the rest of the disc: from the epic ???Antler Mask??? to the absolutely scorching ???Invisible Sun??? and on to the ultra-heavy stoner crush of the album???s closing track ???Tail At Prospect Peak???. There are a couple of more ambient pieces that provide a brief respite from this outstanding sonic onslaught, but even these, especially ???Fangs And Arrows???, eventually evolve until they reach a fairly feverish peak. With ???Behold Secret Kingdom???, Racoo-oo-oon has delivered a potent dose of artistic psychedelic out-rock that???s not to be missed! DL

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