SIANspheric Else

They were no Spinal Tap, but SIANspheric didn’t have to take a backseat to many when it came to being terminally cursed with rotten luck and line-up instability. To make an untidy saga short, soon after a magnificent sophomore album, There’s Always Somewhere Else You’d Rather Be, which had the grandest-sounding guitars and most spellbinding post-My Bloody Valentine guitar-churn grooves heard in indie-land for ages, they underwent a series of shocks and imploded in on themselves. Guitarist Sean Ramsey, the only original member left standing in the outcome, salvaged some rarely and never-heard-before tapes for the epitaph that is Else — and fittingly, it opens up more dimensions to a band few of us had enough of. SIANspheric prefer their songs to be insinuated by torrents of sound, and the tracks on Else show them in still more obscure moods. Snatches of drum and bass stumble in on the windswept ambient pop of the different remixes of "Where the Planets Revolve" (from their debut, Somnium), as if they opened the wrong door while looking for the bathroom. The three live tracks run absolutely counter to the conventional wisdom of how best to engage an audience in a live setting — the music is stripped to its essentials of sound, which fairly buffet the audience who are left to puzzle a song out of the squalling fog around them. Probably most perverse is their cover of "Shag Shack," a song first made infamous by hometown Hamilton heroes, Teenage Head. SIANspheric’s version is anything but a punkish rave-up — like their finest moments, it’s at once painfully deliberate and brattily anarchic and leaves you with the final impression that if anyone married the spirit of Syd Barrett with the ethic of punk, it was probably SIANspheric. (Sonic Unyon)