Tuesday 16 September 2014

Craang - To The Estimated Size Of The Universe (Album Review)

Album Type: Full length
Release Date: 26/5/14
Label: Self-Released

To the Estimated Size of the Universe” CD/DD tracklist:

1). Slo Forward Jam (07:54)
2). Butterfly (09:04)
3). Magnolia (09:36)
4).The Meteorian (15:22)


Based in Thessaloniki, in Greece, fuzzy psychedelic rock trio CRAANG have released one of the best spacey-psychedelic rock releases you’ll hear this year.

“To the Estimated Size of the Universe” is an impressive debut full-length album that offers an enthralling brew of
fuzzy stoner rock laced with healthy dose of 70’s psychedelic rock. The combination works remarkably well and has
the ability to take you places as far and wide as the cosmos.

The whole record flows together excellently, with each track fading into the next, never losing the momentum. That
said, lie back and listen “To the Estimated Size of the Universe” from the beginning to the end and enjoy the stellar cosmic journey that CRAANG will take you on during forty-plus minutes

The Band:
Manos | Guitar, vocals
Mike | Bass
Nick | Drums


Boasting some of the cooler artwork I've seen in some time, a nice watercolour psychedelic theme, you can tell off the bat “To the Estimated Size of the Universe” is going to take you on a trip. Beginning with atmospheric sounds into some nice heavy chugging bass and sweet lead wah-work the first track “Slo Forward Jam” begins our journey into space. Around the 2:50 mark there is some pretty awesome huge spacey guitar noise that reminds me of a more extreme drugged out version of Gilmore's “whale sound” from the interlude in Floyd's seminal track “Echoes.” A more Floydian experience inhabits the middle section of the track with some nice open melodies and the guitar work here is pretty exceptional. The coda section begins with a riff explosion that reminds me somewhat of Dylan Carlson's playing in Earth's classic “Pentastar: In the Style of Demons” as Craang throws some nice bends/slurs into the heavy blues riffs

The second track “Butterfly” has the introduction of nice verbed out open vocals, over some really interesting riffs. Craang's riffs on this track are fascinating and seem to be in ¾ but imply a polyrhythm over bluesy riffs. Definitely a cool feel and some very nice drum work throughout.

My only real critique of this album is that some parts of the kit and perhaps the overall drum volume could be slightly higher. The cymbals in particular could be just a tiny bit higher and seem to need some Eqing to separate them a little bit from the mix as some of the individual hits are hard to make out. That being said the overall production is fantastic as the guitars and bass sound awesome and the kick/snare/toms sound fantastic. The guitars and bass tones are great and the heavier parts have very similar tones to Elder's newer releases. The vocals are also perfectly verbed for the songs and float over the silky carpet of sound Craang weaves.

“Magnolia,” the third of the songs seems to be the inspiration for the flower child artwork. Not disappointing by channelling more heavy 70s sound. This track reminds me a lot of the band Elder, but if they dropped way more acid and smoked less weed. Taking us on a huge trip this track covers a huge amount of sonic territory from rifftastic to spacey and tripped.  I agree with Craang in their subconscious choice of this song as inspiration for the album artwork, it perfectly encapsulates their sound and I'd be inclined to say it's my favorite song on the album.

I really like the beginning of the final track “The Meterorian” in particular, the nice volume swells over the crushing fuzz bass are a nice subtle atmospheric touch. By far the longest track on the album, it boasts a pretty different sounding melodic section right before the middle, with some melodies that sound inspired from some classic 80s synth soundtracks during the non-heavy part. Really cool part it separates the track nicely into the heavy part into the break/open section.

Really great song writing as “The Meteorian” progresses heading into some Ufomammut noise freakout territory with some feedback oscillations spiraling into your subconscious.

In closing, Craang has a very interesting sound and demands to be heard. They have estimated the size of the universe and it is vast and all encompassing. Join them on their trip below.

Words by: Chris Tedor

You can pick up a copy here and watch out for the vinyl release via Pink Tank Record next year

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