Da Captain Trips – “Anechoic Chamber Outcomes I” (Phonosphera Records 2013, CD / Vincebus Eruptum 2013, LP)

Da Captain Trips is an Italian band who formed in 2009 with a shared interest in 1960s-70s psychedelic rock. They began as a guitar/bass/drums trio and released an EP in 2010. With the release of their debut full length – Anechoic Chamber Outcomes I – they have added a fourth member on synths. The album consists of 7 instrumental tracks in 41 minutes.

The set opens with the 10+ minute Leaving The Mainland Again. The first part of the song consists of steady paced psych rock jamming, with chunky guitar chords and a Prog rock keyboard sound. Then near the 4 minute mark they pick up the pace, still jamming but upping the aggression ante, and the keyboards take on a far more spaced out sound. Lots of cool ultra wah’d guitar solos and searing acidic guitar, firmly in 70s heavy jamming psych rock form but with the addition of spaced out keys. The music continues to gradually shift and includes some mellower dreamy passages to offset the heavier rock. Sargassian Way To Definitive Blue goes in a different direction, with melodic yet still psychedelic guitar solos leading the way, accompanied by a soaring, hypnotic synth line, and backed by a march-like rhythmic pace. I like the brief aggressive engine revving mode the synths go into later in the song.

I like the jamming feel of the longer tracks but I think Da Captain Trips are much stronger with shorter, more tightly focused tunes. My favorite tracks of the set are Merfolk Ride and Mar-Has-Kas. Merfolk Ride is a hot ‘n heavy psych rocker with monster guitar, and synth lines that sound like something out of a 60s sci-fi TV show theme. And on Mar-Has-Kas the guitar goes from bubbling liquid psych to ripping rock solos, accompanied by spacey melodic synth lines and a solid tight-as-a-knot bass/drums foundation. Floating goes in a couple odd yet interesting directions, from trippy Eastern flavored psych, to some of the most raucous rock of the set, and finishing on a meditative note. Old Man From The Sea is intense, cinematic, and almost symphonic at times. And Siren’s Call ends the album, being an atmospheric, exploratory piece, with a slow yet pounding percussion pattern backed by howling and droning soundscapes.

In summary, Anechoic Chamber Outcomes I is a decent set of instrumental psych driven rock. The 70s influences are clear throughout, but Da Captain Trips are no retro band and, to their credit, each of the 7 tracks offers something a little different. And while I enjoyed the lengthier jams, the band’s strengths seem to lie in shorter, more structured songs.

The CD is limited to 300 numbered copies. For more information visit the Phonosphera Records web site at: http://www.phonosphera.com
The LP is limited to 250 copies, 150 black vinyl and 100 on colored. For more information visit the Vincebus Eruptum web site at: http://www.vincebuseruptum.it

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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