Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Feb. 20, 2015
SurviveHD015LP/540-046/LLR010 (Holodeck/540 Records/Light Lodge)
Warm or cold, Survive fires synapses across your cerebral cortex. Bubbling mercury on the former end of the spectrum, then dropping it faster than a rocket coolant system, the Austin foursome initially stored its aural sine wave on this 2012 LP for Berlin's Mannequin Records. Reissued last month on a trio of local imprints, the full-length debut now preserves smooth, near-perfect oscillations on tar-black vinyl. Ambient opener "Deserted Skies" herds melody as effortlessly as clouds across West Texas, an Explosions in the Sky/Friday Night Lights moment for the electronic movement. "Floating Cube" then sweeps in like Tangerine Dream scoring Michael Mann's Thief. Its synthesis of multiple British Invasions sidesteps space-age haircuts, mascara, and lipstick for an alternately seedy yet giddy Europop vibe replete with progressive underpinnings. Connective tissue "To Light Alone I Bow" sets a stage for the festival bomp and splash of "Hourglass," a percussive hard rain of sonic meteorites. Ditto for the horn-y punctuation of side two starter "Black Mollies," whose dark aura parts for rays of OMD, while closer "Dirge" – at seven minutes, the longest track on this catalog number namesake – simmers and broils apocalyptic magma in a suite-like series of atmospheric disturbances. At once shot through with dread yet soothed by aquatic currents, its major and minor chord triumph encapsulates Survive in a song – less funeral for a friend than a chemically enhanced wake.