With four releases currently to its name, Eggs In Aspic has already added itself to the impressive roster of underground curationists currently slouching out from the UK’s North Eastern edge. Its output so far is tailor made for those frayed acolytes of ferric overload, with third-eye friendly guitar onslaughts of sufficient mass to knock moons out of orbit and induce catastrophe on a planet-wide scale. Grotto’s Smokonomicom was first out of the traps and was an impressively heavy statement of intent, its paunchy swagger reminiscent of a certain Mr. L Kilmister dragging a shipping container full to the brim with iron ore. It was brutal, yet kind of sexy with it, exuding a glowering radiation forceful enough to send the usual landfill-indie types running back to their trust funds and gap year scrapbooks.
But it’s with the sophomore release, from Finnish trip-rock specialists Oulu Space Jam Collective, that Eggs in Aspic has hit its stride. At nearly two hours long, these three slices of longform kosmische shredding push the definition of an EP to its limits, but time spent with these droogs is anything but wasted. Our crew sport a googly-eyed fervour matched only by Amon Düül II’s Archangel Thunderbird, and share a similar talent for twisting rock’s primal judder into everlasting liturgical wig-outs. The immersion in retro-sci-fi is a nice touch – Approaching Beast Moon of Baxool is an example song title – enabling the Collective to sidestep the standard-issue psych-rock lava lamp rhetoric in favour of a whimsical investment in going where no human has gone before. It’s a trope which, fittingly, chimes with the astral orientation of psychedelia’s prime directive. The journey outwards as a metaphor for the journey within. Kubrick meets Kirk on a distant green world.
Further cosmic resonances blossom from the opening bars of Approaching Beast Moon of Baxool, in which a flurry of choppy percussion channels the spirit of Jaki Liebezeit before morphing into a pulverizing deep space grind, upon which layers of riffing fuzz and tentacular soloing drift inexorably forward. About two-thirds of the way through its 25 minutes the pace shifts up a gear into a giddy jam, like a shuttle rapidly approaching the lunar surface, before dissipating into a slime-ridden splurge of feedback and cymbal smash. Artistic Supplies for Moon Paint Mafia runs according to similar parameters, with gonzoid drum flails driving everyone forward in a sweaty bacchanal that will be familiar to all outsider music heads, its engine room fuelled by an endless supply of krautrock aggregate, half-Paperhouse, half-Hallogallo. It’s an addictive rush, but the dropout into beat-less noodling half-way through is just as charming, the tendrils of guitar and synth burbling away in a manner that’s as eerie as it is chillaxed.
The crowning glory, however, is the 53-minute space-blues shimmy that is Renegade Spaceman. This type of frenzy is usually a little rich for my blood, I’ll admit – acting as a trigger for too many repressed memories of East Anglian pub bands settling for interminable 12-bar turnarounds in lieu of genuine portal-opening thrash – but the jagged guitar nag that opens this voyage hooks itself into my skull like a badly-packed-away fishhook. Once in, it’s dashed hard to free oneself from the psychotropic swirl and I’m done for the whole charred duration as the Collective get their heads down and head for the perimeter. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on. The galactic caravan is leaving.