The previous Axis: Sova record, 2015's bold Early Surf, was a one-man band effort. This time out, front-man Brett Sova has been joined by Tim Kaiser and Cooper Crain. The results here are similarly chaotic but there's more focused fire on Motor Earth, out Friday via Drag City.
If epic opener "Love Identity" is any indication, the band's association with Ty Segall has only furthered their streak of experimentation. For all the conventional hooks here, the music is brash and messy Sixties-inspired garage rock of the very best sort. That said, stuff like "Sanity Range" shows a subtle flair for this kind of music, adding a bit of nuance amid the feedback. If "Eyes Have It" has a bit of Krautrock menace to it, "Unraveling" takes things even further into sinister territory by nodding in the direction of drone rock, or Non. "Violent Yellow" whips up a fun racket, while album closer "Routine Machine" tries to spin something transcendent out of the chaos whipped up by these 3 players.
Motor Earth shows a sign or two of progression from the last Axis:Sova album but not too much; fans of that earlier grunge-y shakedown will be pleased by what's here on this new release. No sense re-inventing the wheel, eh?
The new album from Axis:Sova, Motor Earth, drops on Friday via Drag City.
[Photo: Grant Engstrom]