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The Physics House Band - Mercury Fountain CD (album) cover

MERCURY FOUNTAIN

The Physics House Band

 

Post Rock/Math rock

4.05 | 3 ratings

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Tapfret
4 stars One of my favorite discoveries from the first half of 2017 is a trio from Channel Coast country in the UK, The Physics House Band. Having been floated to their Bandcamp page by links to recommendations of suggestions in a chain that went well beyond 6 degrees of separation, I took one look at the name and thought for sure I had landed on some thumpy techno/rave act that would send me running for the hills. Instead I was treated to their amazing preceding EP Horizons/Rapture. This year's offering is more of the same with a huge dose of maturation.

Mercury Fountain is largely advertised as a post/math experimental album. As a core idea it seems to fit with the sub-genre's conventions, an instrumental trio consisting of multi-instrumentalists. But the "experimental" tag is troublesome. Not because there is any lacking sense of adventure, quite the contrary. More because of the implication of the word experimental as mutually exclusive to deliberate intent. The Physics House Band are nowhere near floundering in their mission. So emphatic is their intent that when I originally looked at the total album time, 29 paltry minutes, I thought their was no way this was going to be enough, being only 2 minutes into the already enjoyable experience. But this is a musical experience that seems to distort time. A bizarre ride through what feels conventional at any given moment. One of those rare albums that takes the listeners through a series of changes with no recognizable unifying theme, that manages to present itself as a single cohesive piece.

Instrument wise the core is a heavy hitting odd-time bass (frequently distorted) and drum groove with frequent breaks of eclectic keyboard use. Everything from overdriven Rhodes sounds to ARP sounding sequences, Moog portamentos, and what is either an old Mellotron with stretched out tapes or a really good sample of one, the keys create a fantastic layer of textures. Guitars tend to be loud but overdriven rather than fully distorted. Lots of reverb on the solos which tend to not have a need for speed. Unlike the previous release the band employs guest musicians for added violin, flute and sax for the closing sections of the album. The package is complete, simultaneously hard and ethereally psychedelic. Tight but raw and energetic.

The Physics House Band engage in a genre that can easily become stale. They are in no danger of that with Mercury Fountain. Easily one of my favorite albums of the year and one I anticipate listening to for a long time. Quickly an essential part of my collection and highly recommended 4.5 stars.

Tapfret | 4/5 |

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