COMPANEROS - LOW RED MOON
Stephen Pennell ©
Last month the weird and wonderful psy-fi Americana collective Low Red Moon celebrated the release of their album Compañeros with a headliner at esteemed soul & retro club The Night Owl, a show that really whetted the appetite for their debut long player, which is now with us. Seamlessly combining music and poetry with visual and performance art, they describe their music as “Psy-Fi Americana”, a blend of psych and sci-fi, but there’s much more to it than that. The album kicks off with Here On The Moon, a bluesy guitar and drum-driven slice of Americana on which you can hear the mid-west desert wind and taste the dust it carries. It wouldn’t be out of place on Tarantino’s Kill Bill soundtrack but that all changes on track two, Fluid. The motorik throb had me thinking I’d somehow butt-dialled Paul Weller’s Green, the vibrant opener from his experimental (aren’t they all?) Sonik Kicks album. It’s back to the serial killer soundtrack vibe for the aptly named Slaughterhouse, and there’s a deliciously late sixties, Jefferson Airplane feel to my personal highlight - Smoke and Mirrors. Next track St Vitus takes the album on a turn to the dark side of the Covid pandemic, and Full Wolf Moon hints at the theatrical bent of the band with its dramatic monologue over a kick-ass rocking groove. On penultimate track White Door, the accomplished vocals of Kaytee Thompson-DeWolfe head back into Grace Slick territory, having delightfully channeled her inner Stevie Nicks throughout much of the collection. Album closer Doldrums puts the Spaghetti Junction into Spaghetti Western with a welcome reminder of the band’s Birmingham roots - a glorious run-out groove reminiscent of Brum retro-futurist pioneers Pram and Plone. Companeros is a tribute to the eight-strong band - I’m not sure who plays what but I’ve had so much fun listening I feel they deserve a name check - so thank you Kaytee Thompson-DeWolfe, Gary Charles, Sean Thompson-DeWolfe, Andrew Wilson AKA Dr Magnets, Beth Walsh, Angela Cross, Olly Pilsworth, Faisal Rashid and Carla Busuttil. The album is released on their own label and collaborative community project, Under Coven, through which Low Red Moon were awarded Arts Council funding. Money well spent in my humble opinion - a really enjoyable collection. Compañeros is available to purchase on Bandcamp and is released on all streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. Speaking of the album, frontwoman Kaytee states “Compañeros was chosen as it means companions or friends in Spanish, which we all are, and it’s also a nod to our guitarist’s love for spaghetti westerns. When we were recording the album in Wales, we woke one morning to find Dr. Magnets blasting Ennio Morricone at full volume whilst cleaning our shared kitchen, which was too cute for words. I wrote most of the songs but a couple, like singles Fluid, Smoke & Mirrors and Full Wolf Moon came about through jamming collectively, something we are doing more of and will continue to explore.” Keep up the good work guys, I’m already looking forward to the next instalment.