Comets on Fire Blue Cathedral

Blue Cathedral, the third studio album overall by California’s Comets On Fire, is the best West coast psychedelic record in a long, long time. Like maybe in 35 years. The opening track, "The Bee and the Cracking Egg,” is like a succinct mixture of Outsideinside-era Blue Cheer and Tricky Woo circa Sometimes I Cry. The guitars blaze out of the speakers, absolutely raging for the first five minutes until it builds into a repetitive pseudo loop that climaxes into one final guitar stomp. "Pussy Footin’ the Duke,” the second all-instrumental track, could be an outtake jam from the Grateful Dead's 1968 Anthem Of The Sun sessions — which is not a dig at all, that record is totally amazing. "Organs” has an acoustic guitar/piano breakdown that totally reminds of Radio Birdman and early Blue Oyster Cult, but it still has an authentic, individual voice that is all its own. It’s difficult to say what exactly it is that makes this record even better than their previous two. It might be their willingness to stretch out arrangements more than the psych-punk freak-outs of their other albums. I’m sure that having Six Organs of Admittance guitarist Ben Chasny become a full-time member brings more stability to the line-up too and his playing is everywhere on this, interweaving licks with Ethan Miller all over the place. I don’t think you are going to find many modern psych rock albums better than this one, which will definitely be one of my top three albums for 2004. (Sub Pop)