Terry Gross-Soft Opening-Thrill Jockey

2020 has been a terrible year for all of us, that goes double for musicians, but with the latest Cloud Seeder record and now this album by Terry Gross, things are ending on a high note. Terry Gross for the uninitiated are guitarist Phil Manley of (Trans Am), bassist Donny Newenhouse, and drummer Phil Becker. Here the songs have time to build, subside, and then enter the hallucinatory realm, where the music makes that vital cerebral connection. I thrive on this sort of music, probably because of my love of bands like Hawkwind, The Myrrors and Black Sun Ensemble. Space Voyage Mission is a dope, 19-minute stormer of a song. The first part of the song made me recall Amon Duul, 18th Dye and Sonic Youth with a smidgen of Can thrown in for good measure. The song is the perfect balance of muscular drumming and deft guitar playing, cut with a copious assortment of pedal effects. The first part of this song is molten hot and sucked me into its vortex. Part two is the right hook that keeps hitting you in the cranium. The tight beat, sludgy bass and smokin’ guitar was pure bliss for this 48-year-old psych fan. But wait, then the drums start rumbling and we find ourselves catapulted into part-three of this song. As we race towards the event horizon the music takes on a more frenzied pace that made me feel disoriented and detached from reality. This was truly an epic experience that deserves a place among the pantheon of psych-classics. 

Worm Gear begins the second half of the record with a searing, warped, acid-washed throb that engenders a dissociative sense in the listener. The sonic assault is conveyed with a firming intention of pummeling you into an alternate reality. The sonic brutality slashes and burns everything around it and left me imagining how incredible music like this will sound in a live setting once Covid-19 is in the rear-view-mirror. These two songs take up 33-minutes of the album and make it completely worth the 18$ price tag (see the official unboxing video below-Ed). I think this record is a definite must have for any heavy psych fan out there. The stellar playing and song-craft is imbued with a virtuosity and grit that will stand the test of time, whilst providing ample trips away from planet earth. Now if they can only get their namesake, NPR’s Terry Gross to tour with them, that would be a show for the ages.

Jonathan Levitt-December 18, 2020- 4/5 stars

Purchase at the link down below.

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