Sunday, 31 January 2016

Yuri Gagarin - At The Center Of All Infinity

(December 2nd, 2015, Kommun 2, Sulatron)

Yuri Gagarin are an instrumental psychedelic / space rock quintet hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden and At The Center Of All Infinity is their second full-lenght album. Right from the start, without a big introduction, you are launched straight into orbit with a great opener "The New Order". Heavy riffing, spacey effects and synths, absolutely face-melting guitar leads and a tight rhythm section are the features of this very experienced crew which definitely did their psychedelic homework. From the space and kraut rock classics like Hawkwind, early Nektar, Ash Ra Tempel  to a bit more contemporary psychedelia like Ozric Tentacles, Acid Mothers Temple and the heavier stuff like Monster Magnet,  these guys pretty much cover it all. The cosmic atmosphere, the unbelievable groove and the incredibly catchy melodies and solos make this album superb and one of my favourite space rock records. The further you listen to it, the further you travel into the vastness of their sonic cosmos, swirling, twisting and turning like a comet with each new riff and each new melody. The lead guitar really stands out in this band (although all of them are clearly magnificent musicians). It is executed with great precision, but it never sacrifices the groove and the melody for the technique... It's really easy to listen and get lost in it.  The song "I See No God Up Here" is a nice ambiental intermezzo that gives you a short break from this intense interstellar trip, but as soon as the title song kicks in you're back in faster-than-speed-of-light gear, wooshing through space.

   Yuri Gagarin set a high standard with their debut and they definitely kept it with At The Center Of All Infinity which has pristine production and even a bit more originality while the overall vibe of the album is a bit darker and oriental influences can occasionally  be heard. It feels like an upgraded and longer version of the first one and a clear step forward by the band.
   The album is available in multiple formats. Digital, CD (released by Sulatron records) and vinyl (first press sold out within 24 hours, but the second one is on its way and available for preorder). The stunning cover artwork was done by Pahl Sundstrom.

   I recommend this great release to all experienced cosmonauts, but also to newcomers to the genre. Its great groove and fluidness make it an easy listening and a great introduction into contemporary psychedelic and space rock. Definitely an album to "turn on, tune in and drop out". Enjoy it.

- Luka

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