Tom Hayes 15-Jul-2006 Full Spectrum

Third album and first full-length release from Minnesota group who come from the progressive/psychedelic wing of alternative rock (Radiohead for example). This is not a genre I’ve really spent much time delving into, but the little I’ve heard has intrigued me to explore further. Anything from The Beatles to Amon Duul II to Pink Floyd to Porcupine Tree and many of the 90’s alternative scene bands get spotted. Interesting the track ordering as they front loaded all the poppier material. The opening track ‘100 Days’ shows that 13 Hertz can mix typical commercial chords with complex underlying rhythms and changes. ‘Risk’, ‘Headlight’, ‘Chasing $’ and ‘Nowhere Somewhere’ will sound familiar to anyone who has spent much time with the flannel shirted, wool cap crowd. It’s the latter three tracks where 13 Hertz shine. All of them clear 8 minutes and there’s plenty of room for instrumental adventures. ‘Ecstasy’ has a clear Pink Floyd influence, right down to the acoustic strumming, slide guitar, spacey vocals and ocean washes. There’s also an aggressive mid-section that recalls The Mars Volta, especially in the vocal and guitar sections (plenty of wah). ‘Dug’ is remarkably similar, though substitute Floyd with Hawkwind. Best track is the closer ‘Morningstar’, which has a wonderful psychedelic opening and some early Amon Duul II fuzz guitar sections. Overall, this is a tough album for me to get into. Many times it hits my buttons (especially the last 3 tracks), but there are some real annoying plays for 1990’s style college radio. However, I give them credit for creating some legitimate psychedelic music. In conclusion, there’s a lot of thought put into this, not to mention subtle instrumentation like banjo and sitar. This is not just a fast recording to get a record deal and then on to the next ticket with Pearl Jam.

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