Sunday, May 29, 2011
USX - "The Valley Path" (2011) [Neurot Recordings]
When I first saw USX live, back when they opened for Neurosis in late 2007, I was completely amazed by their complex instrumentation; three guitars, theremin, noise generators (a la Hawkwind), and keyboards galore, everything worked together in perfect harmony...and everything makes its triumphant return on this album and then some. Drawing upon their already successful cowboy folk-tinged psychedelia (to which I affectionately call "space pioneer folk rock"), USX adds wonderfully lush strings to the equation, adding exponentially to their already rather epic, crescendo-based sound. The movements within this massive album flow together rather nicely, leaving every idea resolved and completed (which is normally a complaint I have for longer tunes, so good job, USX!).
The only complaint I could see people having about this is the fact that the song is so long. Being raised on bands like Camel and Nektar, I've never really had a problem with long songs, but one must remember the ever-dwindling attention span of today's generation; do you think they can handle a 39-minute-long song? However awesome The Valley Path is, I can definitely see precocious youngsters growing weary of its massive length and skipping to whatever else might be on their iPods. Of course, if you are a) perfectly fine with longer tunes or b) going on some spiritual journey and need a companion piece, then you should by all means check out USX's The Valley Path. This epic, yet calming, mammoth of an album is another stepping stone on USX's own path towards becoming one of the "greats." Immense yet not overwhelmingly so, I know I'll be spinning this bad boy for a while.