Engulfed in the well lit landscape of a healthy neo-psych and heavy psych revival in stoner music culture of late, Here Lies Man offer a phytocannabinoid friendly connection between irreverent rock styles introduced by the United Kingdom and Nigeria in the early 1970’s. This Los Angeles, California based project was conceived with a simple goal of combining the raw, bluesy existential lament of Black Sabbath with the electric tribal funk of afrobeat. Afrobeat began in the late 60’s in Nigeria thanks to Feta Kuli who steered a combination of funk, jazz, and the traditional rhythms of the southwestern people of Nigeria and Benin, the Yoruba. Even if you don’t aspire to dig into afrobeat know that it began as musical fusion of celebration and inspired for decades after as music of protest. For over thirty years Kuli was the undisputed king of the genre until his death; Around that time (1997) the Antibalas collective formed in Brooklyn, New York and have been seen as the premier act by many since. Here Lies Man is a brilliant shard from members/ex-members of that collective.
Slow down though, put your hair back in that funny hesher ponytail riff boy. This is most certainly guitar music but it isn’t a NWOBHM rocker or a performative blues vehicle. ‘You Will Know Nothing’ is granted some greater unique ‘world music’ flair with use of complex rhythmic structure. The asymmetrical five count common in African and Caribbean music employed is a grand stretch from the typical rhythms of acid rock and heavy psychedelic music. If you already know of this fabled hambone and it’s use as drapery in ‘wordly’ rock music, I would suggest that Here Lies Man have found ways to use that alternating count and distinct rhythmic to conjure exciting, fuzz-slobbering guitar riffs and some brilliant keyboard work throughout ‘You Will Know Nothing’.
Here Lies Man had already found the right rhythmic sluice to ride on their self-titled debut in 2017, it was an electric slide out of left field and a conjoined twin just sexy enough to marvel over. As novel as that debut felt, it now lacks the atmospheric and sonic refinements that greatly elevate ‘You Will Know Nothing’. Exactly what a proper sophomore rock album should be, Here Lies Man bring sharper performances, inspired detail, and doubly heavy grooves to wrangle. Like Merlin‘s ‘The Wizard’ and Red Lama‘s ‘Motions’ in recent memory the mood of the music caters to the chill mind as often as it drops into moments of barroom shaking electricity. From the galactic motherland-juiced keyboards of “Hell (Wooly Tail)” to the Deep Purple-ish bump of “Taking the Blame” is studded with a balance of righteous burliness and curative atmospheric moments.
With each listen I slowly curved in personal response from retro alienation to alien celebrant as Here Lies Man won me over with their application of neo-traditionalist rhythms to heavy psych. The experience is that of accomplished fusion and not necessarily lump-able in with the confines of stoner rock, but it is absolutely the right sort of experience for the space faring type. For preview you’ve got to start with “Summon Fire” and jump towards “Hell (Wooly Tail)” then their Planet Caravan moment “Floating on Water”.
|Released||June 15, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on RidingEasy Records’ Bandcamp!||Follow Here Lies Man on Facebook|
Another underground spiritual game. 4.0/5.0
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