Rainbow Island: Road to Mirapuri

Two long-ish slices of goofball prog-psych from this Italian quartet, out on cassette from No Fi records. It’s a follow-up to their almost eponymous 2012 long-player, “RNBW” on Flying Kids Records.

The band is channelling a kind of queasy exotica here: their notes claim this tape is “exploring dreamy and  solitary colourful islands which probably exist exclusively in their twisted minds”. The result is akin to watching a warped video of Barbet Schroeder’s “Valley (Obscured By Clouds)” with a bunch of gap year students in Phuket as the mushrooms kick in and things start to go a bit melty round the edges.

Side A, “Rainbow Road”, is where the fun’s really at. A foxy little intro reminds me of the quiet bit at the start of Talking Heads’ “Burning Down The House”, before a heavier oscillating groove squelches in and sets up camp for the next 10 minutes. Meanwhile, at the top end, mopey synths ooze psychotropic ennui.

Flip the tape and things get more claustrophobic. Suddenly we’re in a cavernous space with doomy drone offset by gibbering incantations and clanging cymbals. We’ve wondered off the trail here, buddy, and the balmy idyll of our tropical resort is about to be peeled back to reveal the horror underneath.

But what’s this? Four minutes in and icy keyboard lines carve through the gloom. Suddenly things go a bit Erich von Daniken and, as the bongos get busy, what we thought was a primitive religious ceremony is actually becomes a hymn to the mother ship of our ancient alien masters…

It’s all a knowing pastiche, of course. Rainbow Island are playing with tropes of the backpacker trail and its accompanying idea of pampered first worlders gaining some kind of enlightenment from getting hammered in a tropical setting.

But the playfulness with which these two tracks are executed stops it ever becoming glib. Instead it’s a charming diversion from the grim business of earning and living and keeping body and soul together. And for that, Rainbow Island, I am grateful.

Settle down, take a stress pill and get “Road to Mirapuri” here: http://nofirecordings.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/rainbow-island-road-to-mirapuri.html

Pull up a cushion and cast an eye over “RNBW” here: http://flyingkidsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/rnbw

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