Embracing the world of niche analog formats, Albany, New York’s Century Plants—the duo of guitarists Eric Hardiman and Ray Hare—have just put out this lathe cut 7" and one sided LP of new material that differ drastically from one another in style and sound, but have the same undeniable level of depth and quality that I have come to expect both from this project and from the requisite multitude of side-projects they are involved in.
On the 7" single, "Illuminate the Light" is the more stripped down of the two, with Hardiman and Hare playing mostly undistorted, intertwined echoing guitar passages, making for a somewhat subdued sound. It gets offset, however, by slightly menacing swells of feedback that keep things at a pleasant state of unease. "Blackout the Night" goes for a bit more of a psychedelic feel, throwing in some reversed guitar tones and a more complex, almost jazz influenced guitar duality. Unfortunately, being a lathe cut slab of vinyl the fidelity is a bit lacking, but the included CDR of the same material makes that a non-issue.
The one-sided self titled LP is a different beast entirely. Somewhere between a cover and tribute to Discharge's "State Violence State Control," it retains the duo's psychedelic leanings, but with extremely different results. Recorded live last year with Phil Donnelly on drums, it makes for a spikier, slightly nastier performance. Moving along at a moderate, but solid pace, it captures the best moments of space rock with a snarling, punk edge. There really is no delicate guitar playing or understated melodies to be heard here, just big fuzzed out riffs, Hare's aggressive vocals, and Donnelly’s steady, yet complex rhythms.
I never have any idea what a Century Plants release from will sound like, but I love this. Other than the unifying psych rock elements, the sound can be completely different from one track to the next, exemplified by this pair of simultaneous releases which sound like drastically different projects.
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