There’s a reason I asked Atavismo if I could stream their debut full-length, Desintegración, instead of just reviewing it, and it’s because I think hearing the songs themselves does the record the most justice. Released by the band in cooperation with Odio Sonoro and a host of others, Desintegración is comprised of just four tracks, but holds a world of lush and spacious heavy psychedelia within them, alternately folkish and expansive, minimal and encompassing. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve heard any of the trio’s past work in bands like the spaced-out Mind! or Viaje a 800 — who, sadly defunct, remain among heavy rock’s most criminally overlooked acts — so much as it matters that you’re willing to loan a piece of your psyche to “Blazava,” “Kraken,” “Oceanica” and “Meeh,” and engage the 37 minutes of Atavismo‘s debut on their own level. Among first releases I’ve heard this year, Desintegración is an immediate standout for its complexity, sense of arrangement and for Atavismo‘s ability to hold the material together and create an overarching flow between songs that each boast their own personality.
Witness the Yawning Man-style guitar tone that emerges from the initial synth sprawl of opener “Blazava.” Desintegración takes a minute to unfold, but it’s worth it. Over the course of the 11:31 opening and longest cut on the album (immediate points), guitarist/synthworker Poti, drummer Sandra and bassist Matt loose a ranging instrumental build of dreamy but earthbound heavy psych jamming, making their way across hypnotic tones and masterful breadth as they go, driving as much as they’re meandering toward a lead-topped culmination the underlying rhythmic layer of which is no less a highlight, gracefully executed and in no way giving into the temptation to blast out in terms of pace and upset the careful balance they’ve been able to set. One could trace the acoustic/electric strums to The Who or a host of others from the classic rock pantheon, but immediately, the song and the album belong to Atavismo, and the swirl that ensues on “Kraken” only affirms the hold they have on their approach.
Though the fact that it’s named for a seabeast might lead one to think “Kraken,” the shortest piece here at 6:47, is that explosive moment, and its second half gets fairly raucous, but with a careful Floydian blissout of Mellotron-style keys and acoustics, the beginning half is actually the most soothing moment on Desintegración, and remains so even after the arrival of the album’s first vocals. Classic psychedelic pop, backed by swirl and airy tones, plays out over “Kraken”‘s course, until just before four minutes in, more foreboding, weighted guitar begins a quicker progression that builds into fuzzy lead and the instrumental jam that serves as the track’s still wildly psychedelic apex. Heavier riffing from Poti and a wash of crash from Sandra push “Kraken” to its peak, leading to the similarly minded but more subtle execution of “Oceanica,” which starts out on an even more reserved, otherworldly plane and executes its linearity so smoothly that, unless one were to jump from an early moment to a later one, it would be easy to be entirely lost within the track’s unfurling. Dual vocals come across gorgeously melodic atop light effects and keys and guitar strumming, Matt entering easily on bass and Sandra periodically donating a cymbal wash to the atmospheric cause.
It’s not until after five minutes in that the build really shows itself, the progressive interlude and following verse leading to an uptick around 4:30 that continues to a glorious takeoff almost exactly at the five-minute mark that still doesn’t separate itself from the peaceful vibe preceding but pushes forward into heavier riffing and near-stomp only to recede and end “Oceanica” with a return to the softer psychedelics of its beginning, in turn shifting into “Meeh,” a longer track bookending the album with “Blazava” that is based around the most singularly memorable guitar line on Desintegración. Again, Yawning Man is a point of reference, but there’s a tension even in first, wide open verse — the drums more forward, the bass tighter — that lets you know the payoff will be considerable. And so it is. A mostly instrumental course is led by the guitar into still-patient tradeoffs that ultimately round out “Meeh” with the record’s heaviest stretch, feedback passing the 7:30 mark to dip back into a couple lines before the final thrust begins. Atavismo cross 10 minutes with some vague sense of ritual in the guitar, but it’s still a relatively quick, efficient cap put on Desintegración, leading one to wonder how far the three-piece will push out the next time out.
I’m thrilled to be able to host the stream of Desintegración with permission from Atavismo. I hope you’ll take the time to listen and get to know the album. It’s one I have the feeling I’m going to be talking about here for a while.
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Atavismo‘s Desintegración is available now. More info at the links.Algeciras, Atavismo, Atavismo Desintegración, Desintegración, Odio Sonoro, Spain