Sons Of The Ionian Sea : A New Deadly Intravenous
With a name that is presumably drawn from Greek mythology, and an album design that suggests an attention to aesthetic style above and beyond the contemporary call of duty, it's not surprising that Sons Of The Ionian Sea could find themselves potential targets of the prog-rock moniker.
So are Sons Of The Ionian Sea a prog-rock band? Certainly there's a seriously rich, heavy-rock base that throws back to the original post-psychedelic era when drugs and middle-class indulgence came together like star-crossed lovers yearning to procreate. Power chords come rolling into review like rain-bearing clouds on a late afternoon Malaysian afternoon, drums pack the punch of Joe Frazier working off an insult and there's a selection of high-concept, and poetic vocal refrains.
The opening track, Hugh Hefner suggest a narrative of the exploits of the venerable Playboy king played out against a Hendrix-influenced heavy blues jam that keeps on giving. The licks of Lucky Country walk the line between jazz exploration and rock precision; as the guitars fire off into Ace Frehley territory, the drummer skips back, forth and across the middle like an old song-and-dance peddler auditioning in a Hollywood lot. Down By The Lake is down, dirty and just a little bit confronting, the darker edge of early Kiss before colour, glitz and glam denied the band's original streetwise shtick.
The curiously title Pum Shpit Phum Psar nods its head over the fence at the pop sensibility Sons Of The Ionian Sea clearly have their suspicions about; when the song swaggers into serious action, the knives are out and there's no time to talk when the guitars are cutting swathes through everything in their path. If its predecessor track is confident in its attitude, Clockwise Orange is bumptious in the extreme, and with slabs full of just cause certified by Hawkwind, Lobby Loyde's Coloured Balls and Ticket. Grassy Knoll ebbs and flows like a pleasantly pissed Jack Kerouac holding court in a San Franciscan coffee house, before being drowned out by an acid-drenched Lemmy.
At the end of the day - and there are some seriously long, radio-unfriendly length tracks on A New Deadly Intravenous - this is a genuinely tough, uncompromising and eclectic heavy rock record. Maybe it is progressive - and given how conservative the music industry seems to be becoming, surely that's a good thing?
Out now on Iridium