Monday, June 29, 2009

Naam - Kingdom EP (Tee Pee, 2009)

What the hell is going on with the cover art to Kingdom?! Here's what I'm thinking: An androgynous angel puts its arm around Brother Michael. It points to the bustling city nestled in the valley below, explaining "One day, this will all be yours. All the riches within, yours to do with as you please; the harvests of a learned civilization, yours to reap. Yours will be a peaceful and prosperous dynasty." The angel's wings unfurl as it pulls out a massive spliff from its flowing purple robes.  "But first, we are gonna get fuckin' BAKED on some OG Kush, brah!" 

"Skyling Slip"

I'm trying my hardest to wipe the image of navel-gazing, stoned longhairs on desert acid trips from my mind as I listen to Kingdom. It's tough, but I'm doing my best to take Naam's droning psych jams at face value, instead of mentally adding them to the endless queue of stoner metal pilgrims crawling towards Jerusalem to pay obeisance at Sleep's sacrificial altar. Because you know, I can sense how fulfilling a song like "Skyling Slip," with its lumbering opening riff slathered in honey glaze, must be to a dude that's ready for a vision of the godhead; how perfect Ryan Lugar's literally monotone, Om-like vocal melody would be if you openly accept the Vedic mysticism implicated in Naam's name, sound and MySpace manifesto ("The vast seas cannot drown Us, the darkest caverns cannot conceal Us, We will conquer insurmountable foes. We are war, We are peace, We are time and space, We are infinite, We are Naam"). 

I'm nearly there. Those elastic rhythms and space-guitar heroics in "Fever If Fire?" Awesome. Bassist John Bundy and drummer Eli Pizzuto inhabit an astral plane where all is vibrational rhythm and there's no such thing as the bottom of the pocket. Naam get tighter the looser they get. I sorta wish they didn't rely so heavily on reverb. That "recorded-from-the-other-end-of-a-shark-tank" aesthetic threatens to dominate Naam's songs, when it should be the other way around -- that production style compresses all the peaks and valleys of the closing title track into a curious middle ground, where thunder becomes just real hard rain, and an out-of-tune Sitar drip-drops in the puddles. Still, not just any band can maintain interest throughout an 11-minute vamp on one chord. Naam do. Now about that cover art...

Amazon (MP3) (MP3)


Ms Emerita said...

I get it - Naam is some kind of nirvana-like state in Vedic lore. I'd like to groove on this sometime.

China said...

For some reason the cover art reminds me of the artwork to an atheist children's book from 1978 I've got laying around.

Anonymous said...

"naam" is just "name" in hindi, by the way.