Published Aug 05, 2016Named after an asteroid that was once presumed to have brought on the end of the dinosaur age (its name has been cleared, according to NASA), Grand Rapids, MI band Heaters' new ten-track LP, Baptistina, picks up right where last year's marvellous debut, Holy Water Pool, left off.
Opening track "Ara Pacis" boasts the same energy and sonic feel as cuts from Pool, and has an awfully neat melodic switch-up halfway through, picking up speed and featuring a very gratifying bass line. While Baptistina doesn't burst with quite the same unhinged energy or dynamics as its predecessor, it does bring forth a number of looser moments, like the swirling and spacey "Orbs," or the drawn out bits in "Dali" that meander and mix with added effects. Baptistina houses plenty of ambient add-ons that at times detract from the band's boisterous playing, but lend the cosmic feel that the title suggests.
"Garden Eater" is a dizzying number, featuring the repeated statement, "Are you living with your head between your knees like you lost it? / Should be living with your hands on your eyes," that changes about a third of the way in and slows to a hypnotic crawl; the largely instrumental "Elephant Turner" (bookended with vocals) chugs along and brings to mind the feel of their previous release, while "Turkish Gold" is a glimmering, succinct number that could easily soundtrack a trip to the stars despite clocking in just under the two-minute mark.
Baptistina feels far more exploratory than Pool, with moments that seem like the band have more ideas than one record can fit (which may explain why a number of their tunes change direction and feeling midway). The vocals are more obscured and washed out, with the spotlight clearly placed on Nolan Krebs' bass and Andrew Tamlyn's guitar, particularly on album closer "Seafoam," which dissolves into definite disarray.
Heaters still proffer a blissed-out blend of psych and garage rock, but have toned it down a touch here in favour of atmospheric moments, making Baptistina less a trip through an asteroid belt than an exploration of the unknown. (Beyond Beyond Is Beyond)