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Song Samples / Digital Downloads
Continuing on the Flying Saucer Attack reinstatement program that began with last year's new release Instru-mentals 2015 and the reissue earlier this year of FSA's 1995 LPs Further and Chorus, we arrive at the 1997's New Lands and 2000's Mirror. Following the chilled-out acoustic draughts blow-ing through both Further and Chorus, to say nothing of the folk-undertones in the 1996 EP release "Sally Free and Easy," it seemed that the direction for future FSA musics was clear: increased melodicism with more roots exposed in ever-cleaner productions, right? Uh, no. After what felt to be an extended wait, New Lands arrived in late '97, marking phase two of Flying Saucer Attack as an ostensible solo act for Dave Pearce. Fur-ther, New Lands presented a foreboding atmosphere, with coarse electric textures from the very top of the re-cord, as well as an unanticipated rubbery bottom and the implied physicality of such on several songs. These developments hardly implied a newfound peace of mind, as had been suggested by Further; instead, an encroaching darkness spreads out over side two of New Lands. Both "The Sea" and "Forever" conclude the album with a feeling of anything but accord; gla-cial floats that might seem placid in other contexts are enervated with jagged rhythms and teeming guitar textures, all of which seem to affirm our uneasy desire to cleave the skin from our bodies as being a perfect-ly acceptable plan. The highly palpable psychedel- is shadows of the debut Flying Saucer Attack album flicker throughout New Lands, albeit in a much altered form. The distance between albums only increased be-tween New Lands and Mirror — over two years this time, with only a cover version of Skip Spence's "good-bye world" opus, "Grey/Afro" coming between. Mirror arrived wrapped in a vibrant, multicolored cover de-signed by Savage Pencil — but the opening sequence of songs offered some of the quietest, most refined Fly-ing Saucer Attack songs committed to tape. The vio-lent spells of New Lands had given way to a flattened drone on the electric pieces "Space 1999," and "Is-lands" and "Dark Wind," while the glittering acoustics of "Suncatcher" and "Tides" highlighted an incredible fragility within the songs. Dave Pearce seemed to be further away in space than ever, a wispy presence over streamlined hard beats and loops of "Chemicals," and Mirror's second side. Particularly when considering the silence that followed, this impression makes Mir-ror a distressing encounter at times, though certainly one of the most enervating listens of the FSA catalog — quite an achievement, when the blinding sheets of previous phases are recalled! Mirror and the eventual Instrumentals 2015 show that following their manic first years, Flying Saucer Attack never stopped evolving. And now the vinyl artifacts are back among us — to be dug again....