Abunai! were a Boston area band who between 1997-2003 released three albums on CD and 2 vinyl EPs on the late great Tony Dale’s Camera Obscura label. Of the three full length albums, two were song based, and one (Round-Wound) consisted of all instrumental improvised space rock face melter jams. The Krauted Mind label (Germany) has reissued the band’s debut – Universal Mind Decoder – as a remastered double LP vinyl set in an edition of 500 (250 blue and 250 red), with two 1997 cassette demos as bonus tracks.
I liked Abunai! because they could write a good song, they could crank out a killer space-psych jam, and they could do both at the same time. The album opens with a voice calling, “Space assignment, rocket to the moon”!, and several of the tracks are loosely connected in this way. Cosmo Gun is a stoned and droned yet merrily melodic tune with searing acid-noise distortion guitar and soaring alien synths. This combination of psychedelia, space rock and cool grooving song is what I liked so much about Abunai! 77 Gaza Strip is similar but with a dark and dreary sense of foreboding. Opening with, “That’s a call from our secret agent on outer space patrol”, Inspiration is a bouncy, trippy pop-folk-acid-psych song. Calvary Cross consists of dreamy melodic folk-rock, with organ and distortion guitar. And then Gypsy Davy and Chromatic Moire go in very different directions, the former sounding like some traditional Celtic pub song with dirty rocking psych guitars, and Chromatic Moire being a quirky avant-rhythmic jam.
We’re also treated to two lengthy space-psych monsters. Quiet Storm is a 9 minute dreamy and steadily grooving song. The guitars are like a spaced out blend of the Bevis Frond and Neil Young, though there’s plenty of bubbly liquid psych guitar as well. Wrapping up with, “Looking through the windows of our rocket ship, we can see the Earth below. What wonderful things we see”, it leads into Dreaming Of Light, an instrumental that closed the original set. The music continually shifts gears, from flesh rending distortion guitar, to high powered stoned guitar and rocking psych solos. Add in the high powered organ and you’ve got 9 minutes of the heaviest rocking intensity of the set.
Fans of the jamming instrumental side of Abunai! will love the bonus tracks. Dropped From A Rocket is a totally spaced out, stoned yet trippy instrumental excursion with a cavernous sound. And the 17 minute epic Mirror of Galadriel / Drinks the Young Wine features more stoned jamming, this time with an Eastern ethic vibe, haunting keys and space electronics. About halfway through there’s some narration and the band transition to a slower paced dreamily stoned jam with a spaced out sense of drift and vocal chants.
VERY nice to see Krauted Mind reissue this gem. It would be great to see them work their way through the entire catalog, though all are available for digital download, and looking at the band’s Bandcamp site it seems there are still some vinyl copies of the Two Brothers vinyl EP left.
For more information about the Universal Mind Decoder reissue visit the Krauted Mind Records web site at: http://www.krautedmind.com
Streaming and download of all Abunai! albums is available at: http://abunai.bandcamp.com
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz