Having followed these Austin, Texas psyche rock trippers for some time now brought me to a situation to make myself really happy to review their brand new brainchild called Cosmic Priestess. After absolutely mind-blowing The Quentessential released in 2009 on Small Stone Records, I expected the band to go in one of two directions. The first is to become fuzzier and fuzzier, and the second was a rockier direction. The main, improvisational note that followed their sound since The November Session album with Cosmic Priestess gets bit more tamed, and it’s notable through the album’s spine that the new psych-o-jam is much more a product of studio work.
Tia Carrera’s greatest strength is without a doubt their ability to capture the moment and transfer the immediacy of the recording process. That was case with all previous releases and that keeps on rolling through Cosmic Priestess as well. The album is made of four massive slabs, two of which are clocking under ten minutes, with the center-piece called Saturn Missile Battery a big son of a bitch that runs for over 33 minutes.
Cosmic Priestess opens with Slave Cylinder in a classic soiled variant of garage rock with, what has become a sort of trademark of these Austinites, extensive psychedelic jams. It’s questionable here what’s more twisted. Is it the Hendrixesque guitar soloing of Jamey Simms or the intense, sometimes over-the-top drumming of Eric Conn? The songs in general are without any significant reversals, the album comes as a long and uniform psychojam. Thus, even when the band goes wild and insane or lands the ground with a little bit tamed song structures, there is an omnipresent feeling of easily floating dirtiness. Or smoothness, depending from which perspective it’s observed.
There comes a surprise in the shape of Sand, Stone and Pearl which kicks off by employing electric piano, leading into some jazz noodling juxtaposed with psychedelic guitar soloing. While repetitive guitar lines keep this song within, its flow runs high and far away behind any shape of tameness, obtaining that way what could be depicted as psychedelic jazz. Who knows, it might be a case.
The massiveness of Saturn Missile Battery presents two options for Cosmic Priestess. The first, more obvious and more reasonable option is to consider this piece as a consistent part of the album, which it is. But, clocking over freaking 33 minutes it gives away a feeling of the independence comparing to other tracks. It’s still Tia Carrera and it’s Tia Carrera at its best. By listening to this slab, I came to the conclusion that this band clinches much better when it comes to lengthy overdriven intensity than putting themselves in chains of time limit. And Saturn Missile Battery shows everything but any limits, that’s why this track is a centerpiece of the record. It’s always expected that the longest track off an album has most to offer, just because of its duration. But speaking of TC, time factor doesn’t even come to your mind. You feel as a particle in a system of “chaos” at moments, sometimes you feel you lost your way, but no matter of that all you like these sound waving. And that’s what counts.
Though Saturn Missile Battery is a massive opus, it’s not everything of this record. You might think it will get you tired, but the closing track, A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing, keeps on delivering outstanding work from the trio. Shining moments of Jamey Simms didn’t finish on the previous track. Followed by hard hitting of Erik Conn and greasy bass-ing of James Morales, Cosmic Priestess closes and passes the exam with a high grade.
Mark my words, Tia Carrera is an amazing band.
01. Slave Cylinder (07:33)
02. Sand, Stone and Pearl (15:10)
03. Saturn Missile Battery (33:40)
04. A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing (08:00)
* Erik Conn – drums
* Jason Morales – guitar, bass
* Jamey Simms – guitar, bass
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