RF Shannon's new album, Jaguar Palace, sits somewhere in a triangulation of Pink Floyd's mellow psyche-ambiance, My Bloody Valentine's exquisite lushness and Neil Young's rootsy-but-still-experimental Americana.
RF Shannon definitely offers guitar nerds a lot to chew on, often balancing three or four guitar parts at a time. The effects-laden and noodling solos bring a similar spaciousness to that of the War On Drugs, but instead of upbeat Springsteen worship, the tempos are generally much slower, giving a more stoned feeling.
Despite the looseness, a few tools are expertly used to add or change the musical energy: key changes and shifts in dynamic and/or instrumentation, such drums dropping out for a quiet verse or lap-steel swelling into a lush chorus, are abundant. The way the opener and title track drops in dramatically after two minutes of almost free-jazz experimentation is a good example. The delicate first verse of "In the Wilds of My Mind" is another.
"Had a Revelation" has a sort of moody, bluesy groove that's almost reminiscent of Joe Cocker's "Woman to Woman" (famously sampled on 2pac's "California Love"). As the most driving, upbeat song, it provides a nice peak in the middle of the record, while still meshing well with the more vibe-y tracks. As the shortest song, it also makes for nice juxtaposition with the following, and longest-running track, "Hottevilla 1," which is full of spooky cymbal scraping and weird chiming sounds that could be a guitar tapped with a stick or honky-tonk piano put through a delay pedal (either seem plausible from this musical mad-scientist).
Simply put, Jaguar Palace is a great trip in both the psychedelic and journeying senses of the word. (Cosmic Dreamer)