Abronia, Obsidian Visions/Shadowed Lands (Water Wing)
[DESERT MUSIC] While backpacking in the Utah desert, Eric Crespo had a dream. In that dream, he and five friends surrounded a single, massive drum. As the indefatigable brains behind long-running Portland psych-folk act Ghost to Falco, Crespo dedicated himself to this new vision, building a new band around an instrument simply referred to as "the Big Drum." On Abronia's debut album, Obsidian Visions/Shadowed Lands, the lack of a proper kit doesn't seem to hold the band back in any way—if anything, the thudding percussion anchors the music to its primitive inspirations. Sprawling instrumental intro "The Great Divide" showcases the group's nimble ability to mix spaghetti-Western soundtrack music with Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd psychedelia. "Smoke Fingers" showcases saxophonist Keelin Mayer as the band's de-facto lead singer, giving her plenty of room to stretch out over a bed of tremolo guitars and heartbeat drumming. Later, on "Glass Butte Retribution," Mayer doubles the guitars once more, this time with vocal incantations, answering the question, "What would early Sonic Youth sound like if Kim Gordon could sing on key?" The album's finale, "Waning Wand," builds for five full minutes before reaching a fever pitch of swirling lap-steel lines that coalesce into a single, dam-breaking final riff. For a new band, Abronia has pulled off a nifty trick—crafting a self-assured album that already sounds pleasantly weathered by the sands of time.
SEE IT: Abronia plays Rontoms, 600 E Burnside St., with BlackWater HolyLight, on Sunday, June 25. 9 pm. Free. 21+.