Blurring the lines between post-rock and psychedelia, The Physics House Band’s album ‘Mercury Fountain’ wastes no time introducing you to their unique brand of instrumental rock. With atmospheric synths balanced with heavy guitars, the first track of the album Mobius Strip emerges through a fog of crackled delay and alien noise before unleashing into a thrashing post-rock riff that sets the tone for the rest of the record.
Noting that the last track Mobius Strip II takes its name from the first, Mercury Fountain presents itself as one continuous progression from beginning to end as each track transitions into the next as if inspired by its predecessor. This is apparent immediately as the second track Calypso seemingly appears from the first, frantically picking up the speed as the guitars lock into a groove that exists somewhere beneath the main melodic phrase.
Building on the structure of Mobius Strip, which develops from ambience into chaos before disappearing back into the fray. The album begins to take shape as Holy Caves slows down once again to sink you into a trance of a repetitive bass that would not be lost in the stoner rock genre. However, true to form the next track Surrogates Head appears out of nowhere with a distorted mayhem which you would be forgiven for thinking it could be the same song.
This is what I like about TPHB, where as most artists would build a song by creating dynamic differences between alternating themes in a verse and chorus, TPHB use the album format to build and elaborate on each individual idea showcasing both their musicianship and technical prowess as well as creating the feeling that the album is always in a state of flux. This kind of songwriting allows the band to jam on each riff over a long period of time as they swap up the structure of their songs by finishing each repetition on different beats or dropping instruments in and out of the mix while they swap between the instrumentation of the melodies.
Although for example the transition between A Thousand Spaces and Obidant is kind of weak, overall TPHB have managed to deliver an album that is for the most part is one cohesive and complete set of tunes that deserves be listened to from start to finish. This is most apparent when the album comes full circle and reintroduces the melodic ideas of the original Mobius Strip with a much more calm and relaxed rendition in the form of Mobius Strip II.
How It Stacks Up – 7 / 10
Holy Caves / Surrogate Heaad (Must be paired)
The Astral Wave
Record Label: Small Pond Recordings
Follow: The Physics House Band