I’m sure that had he still been alive this would have been Timothy Leary’s favourite band, as the Space Rock of LITMUS is trippy and mind-expanding beyond belief. I’ve taken one sip of their chosen poison, as it were, and found myself spirited away to a fantastical cosmic realm where handlebar moustaches, cape-wearing keyboardists, lava lamps and bright lights are the order of the day. Abandon all sense of reality ye who enter here, as this is the domain of LITMUS – a weird and wonderful place filled to the brim with smoke from HAWKWIND’s cosmic bong... Awesome.
At once ridiculous and genius, the sound of “Aurora” is a master class in old, old Rock and a tribute to all things trippy, frilly, and silly in the best HAWKWIND (think “Warrior On The Edge Of Time”), PINK FLOYD (think “Meddle”) and CAMEL (think “Moonmadness”) tradition. Apart from THE FLOWER KINGS I cannot think of another band around that can pull off this 70s sound so convincingly in this digital day and age. It’s Prog Rock doused in more cosmic sounds and beeps than one can swish a cape at, and basically escapist art at it’s best and most hallucinogenic. Yes, everything essentially bleeds into one loooong song – which I suspect was the intention – but several standout moments are to be found here, most notably the almost Punk-y quality of the riffs in “In The Burning Light” (that add a tangible sense of ‘metalness’ to proceedings), the semi-instrumental (and quite fast-paced) “Ma55on Rift””, and the mammoth “Red Skies” where solos of all kinds (guitar, bass, keyboard) come flying at you from every direction. The production also has that vintage quality to it, its warm, organic sound and crackling bass heaviness is sure to fill a room of any size.
You have to be in a certain mindset to fully appreciate what LITMUS are doing on here and while it’s not the kind of thing I can listen to everyday “Aurora” turned out to be one helluva enjoyable album, and another sterling jewel in the Prog Rock/Metal crown of 2009. Very good stuff indeed!
(Online September 22, 2009)