ST 37 Reviewed
ST 37Down On Us (Emperor Jones) After 15 years, several lineup changes, and umpteen CDs, cassettes, and compilations, ST 37 has honed its mixture of psychedelicized space punk into a potent essence that just might raise blisters on the brain if you let it soak long enough. Down On Us doesn't reinvent ST 37 as much as it distills the Austin quartet's varied directions into one cohesive statement. Don't make the mistake of taking the "space rock" tag too literally here. Granted, the album does end on a 14-minute paranoia jam called "Valentine Alibi," but you certainly won't be nodding off when the acidified hardcore of "Daniel Says" pays penance to Daniel Johnston's exhortation not to play cards with Satan. The quartet also honors Australian folk iconoclast Pip Proud with an epic cover of "Sweet Thought." Bassist Scott Telles takes a brief excursion into Syd Barrett territory with his homage (or should we say fromage?) to "A Huge, Rare Cheese," while "Caves of Ice" is a badass apocalyptic black metal extravaganza that ends with Lovecraft's Cthulhu "dancing in Area 51 with Thor's hammer as churches crumble." You can definitely hear Hawkwind and Amon Düül coming through, but what really makes ST 37 interesting is the disparate grab bag of mitigating factors ranging in timbre from Chrome to Roky Erickson to Zoogz Rift. Between the swirling, multitextured music and the beautiful cover art by John Foxworth, Down On Us is the best third-eye squeegee to come out of Austin in some time.