The Stevenson Ranch Davidians claim that they're a "trip to outer space with stops at the moon and the afterlife." That sounds like the sort of thing I would normally heartily approve of. So why then when I play this CD do I hear nothing but recycled Spiritualized and (The) Verve licks and tricks?
Now, I happen to have a great deal of time for Jason Pierce and his madder Spiritualized outings, and A Storm in Heaven by The Verve is a peach of an album from before the days that Richard Ashcroft starting believing the voices in his head. But do I really want to hear it all over again, 15 years after the event? Um, not really.
I suppose over in Los Angeles the pre-Britpop days of yore probably seem like an exotic, far away place where flat caps, whippets and Class A drugs all mix together in a crazy assed psychedelic swirl, much in the same way as I yearn for a Georgia front porch and a wide selection of guns -- The lure of strange daze. And they're actually good at what they do. They've got the quiet vocals, the psychedelic swirl, the washes of organ and a spot on production. Maybe, if I wasn't so old and gnarly I might get more from it, but apart from a couple of songs, there wasn't anything that leapt out and commanded my attention.
The best bits are where they go a wee bit further back in time and have a bash at '60s British psychedelia, when bands weren't afraid to call themselves Dantalions Chariot and release records called Madman Running Through The Fields. Whereas, nowadays, they'd get a good thumping from the pseudo police. So when the Stevenson Ranch Davidians try to channel the three minutes when Syd Barrett wasn't a waste of air, the members actually become "A Very Good Band." So you might want to have a taste of "Let It All Go" and "Inbetween Everything," where they manage to get the right mix of whimsy and melody.
There is a place for this kind of thing as the limited success of The Polyphonic Spree and the Brian Jonestown Massacre demonstrates, but Dwayne (lead singer, rhythm guitarist and lyricist), Jessica (bassist/organist), Cary (lead guitars) and Bryan will need to up their game a bit, if they plan on being around for the long haul.