Possum Lose Themselves to Jam on 'Lunar Gardens'

BY Matt YuyitungPublished Jun 29, 2021

Psychedelic rock has always attracted those looking to seek out new worlds — more specifically, it has attracted those who enjoy its combination of trippy, hallucinatory imagery and journeys into spacey, uncharted sonic territory. On Lunar Gardens, Possum deliver what they describe as a "surrealist escapist space fantasy of impossible spaces." What does that mean exactly? How listeners react to the band's forays into cosmic territory will help them figure it out.

Compared to 2019's Space Grade Assembly, Lunar Gardens is a much a more exploratory record, with the band preferring looser, jazzier jams instead of the driving garage rock of their debut. Sometimes it works very well, particularly over the back half of the record. The acid-jazz stylings of "Moonjuice" finds the band playing around on a fun Herbie Hancock-esque vamp, while "Leyline Riders" brings some of the rock urgency of their debut into the mix.

The challenge of writing a more improv-heavy record comes with giving purpose to each individual jam-out. There's a fine line between immersive journeys and aimless meandering, and there are moments where time passes without the band saying much — though, for the most part, Possum do a fine job in not straying too far into the wilderness. 

It's hard not to miss the urgency and energy of Possum's debut record. Like modern psych overlords King Gizzard, Possum's melding of garage rock, psych and prog made for a wild but very enjoyable ride. That lack of directness on Lunar Gardens hinders the band at times, where they get lost in their own "space fantasy." But the record has its own share of compelling moments, and shows a band unafraid to dive into new sonic spaces.
(Idée Fixe)

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