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Saturday, 30 September 2017
STROBE - THE BUNKER SESSIONS (Sulatron Records LP, CD).
New from Germany’s premier Space Rock/Psychedelic record label, Sulatron Records, comes a previously unreleased gem from the cult British Space Rock band Strobe. Strobe formed in 1990 with their first album See Beyond the Sun, released in 1991 by Mystic Stones receiving very positive reviews, the Melody Maker picked up on the vibe of the record and wrote "Strobe retread a no-man’s land between Loop/Hawkwind experimentation and Cure-style catharsis....Strobe don’t seem tied down by anything, the three guitars soar, the sound is full, dynamic and masterful...." Another four albums on different labels followed before Strobe split in 2001, hitting their peak around the mid 1990s with the albums 'Maya' (1992) and 'The Circle Never Ends' (1994) ……….however they were a band out of time, existing in an era when tastes had changed in the UK and many of the Psychedelic bands had ditched guitars in favour of samplers and dance beats, destined to remain a cult underground band regardless of the quality of the music. Sulatron have rescued the tapes from a session the band recorded for what would have been their fourth album and are releasing them into a world that is now ready for a band that in certain circles were considered to one the best British Space Rock outfits ever.
Recorded totally live with no overdubs at the Bunker Studios in Bedford sometime in 1994, this album is more representative of the band’s sound than any of their studio albums ever where. It’s raw but with a line up that includes three guitarists Strobe create expansive soundscapes with a warm lush sound based on hypnotic flowing rhythms where the keyboards/synths take more of a backseat. The album opens with the slowburn instrumental ‘Sun Birth’ before kicking into the Loop meets Hawkwind at the edge of space groove of ‘Into Your Skin’……….guitars swirl, dive and soar around a rock solid rhythm section driving the the band to the further out. Maybe this is indicative of many Psychedelic bands being wary of messing with the Psych Rock template, but the Bunker Sessions, even though over 20 years old, sounds surprisingly contemporary when held up against the sound of more modern Space Rock bands………………….either that, or Strobe were so far ahead of their time it’s frightening. There is some really great tracks here…………’Chameleon Earth’ is a stompy Space Rock tune with a killer riff while the fantastic ‘Opium Dream’ with blissed out female vocals is a transmission from the narcotic netherworld. The album closes with ‘Sun Death’ which collapses into itself with a face melting squall out. An absolutely brilliant record that sounds totally modern and well worth your attention. Kudos to Sula Bassana and the rest of the people at Sulatron for rescuing this record and giving it the release it deserves.
Housed in a Comet Lulu designed sleeve and available as a limited run of 500 copies on blue vinyl and also on CD, the Bunker Sessions by Strobe is due for release 13/10/2017 and will be available from all really cool record stores and the usual suspects online. Pre-orders are being taken now at the Sulatron web site.