If you like your music saturated in reverb, sprinkled with blues-inspired psych-rock riffs, and lightly toasted on a bed of ’60s rock nostalgia, then The Entrance Band just may be your next addiction. The brain child of Guy Blakeslee (former guitarist for The Conviction Of…), The Entrance Band is a power trio much in the style of Cream or The Band of Gypsys, but modernized sonically for a new generation of psychedelic rock lovers.
The trio is rounded out by Paz Lenchantin (formerly of A Perfect Circle and Brightblack Morning Light) on bass and Derek James on drums, and they managed to capture the essence of the ’60s movement perfectly with 2006’s Prayer of Death and then again on 2009’s The Entrance Band (Ecstatic Peace). That effort marked the group’s fourth full length album to date, but it was the first on which they called themselves The Entrance Band instead of simply Entrance.
Their musical stylings before Prayer of Death and The Entrance Band could be described as mostly drunken, ghost-like folk music with heavy, tripped-out tones done in a very lo-fi, minimalistic way, so when they changed their name to The Entrance Band and started playing politically charged riff rock, quite a few people were surprised to say the least.
The Entrance Band released two EPs this year that are definitely on my Top 10 EPs list for 2012. The first, Latitudes, saw a very limited self-release via Entrance Records, with only 500 CDs and 500 vinyl albums printed, but they were all hand numbered and uniquely packaged based upon format. The EP was recorded after The Entrance Band played All Tomorrow’s Parties, a concert of bands handpicked by Animal Collective, and it includes three songs for a total play time of 27 minutes and 34 seconds.
Latitudes is not a far cry from The Entrance Band, but the band continued to show with the EP release that they would not rest with simply being a riff rock band. The Latitudes EP is a great example of a band growing within its genre, moving past some of the stuff that may have come a little easier to them and reaching for experimentation. In the end, you get a sold psych rock release that is well worth a listen from anyone who fancies themselves a lover of progressive music.
Then this summer — August 28th, to be exact — Fine Flow was released via Spiritual Pajamas, and to me, it marks the biggest changing point in the band’s almost 10 year career so far. Usually when you think of something like psychedelic rock, you think of experimentation and progressive structures, possibly some off-time key changes or what have you, but what The Entrance Band did with Fine Flow is completely overhaul their sound and challenge any preconceived notion you may have had about what it means to be a psychedelic band.
Turn all the time-based effects down, cut the gain to about 4, inject some woodwinds into the mix, and what you get is four instrumental tracks clocking in at 34 minutes of pure genius captured by Dave Scher (engineer and producer). You also get my vote for EP of the Year. Fine Flow is an album that makes the band one to watch in 2013, and it provides a look at a less riff-based, less distortion-based musical route for The Entrance Band. Coupled with the Latitudes EP, I believe Fine Flow could mark a wonderful new direction for the ever-changing band, and I’m hopeful it will lead to a possibly excellent full-length release in 2013.
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