Listening to Thunder Conjuring Mind is like having an acceptably trippy daydream, one where your mind kind of wanders and skips around quite unfettered. What you get here is a little bit like jam-band grooves, a little bit like found-sound art, a little bit like prog, and a lot like fun. Second Culture crunch 15 tracks into this release, with each landing around the five-minute-plus mark—just long enough to make a full and firm statement before changing channels. Transitions between tracks are smooth and leave the flow unbroken. I like the way the sequencer-fired opener, “Star Seed People,” melts into “Euphoricum Integer,” the sequencer slowly fading back from prominence but still maintaining a rhythm. Things quiet down a bit before we’re suddenly popped into the heavy beats of “Tuning the Dream Door, Pt 1.” Classic spacemusic washes and a vocal drop round it out, ushering us into Amy Conger’s singing/repeating/reciting on “Sorting Sanctuary.” It’s a happy little tune… “The world will end/in 11 days/welcome the apocalypse/stroll right through/the detritus/in your very best shoes.” This thing gives off a heady 70s space rock vibe, a deep jam with poetry wedged into it. She comes back, heavily drenched in glorious reverb, on the title track. Zach Taylor (“for the first time ever, a proper drummer playing a drum kit,” says the web site) lays down aggressive lines as the vocal loops weave around one another in a very hypnotizing dance. “Glass Samurai” bounces and gurgles along, sounding like an alternate take for a Dr Who theme song. This one pings that part of me that thrives on good baselines. On top of that, there’s an 80s synth-pop touch to some of the keys here, so I’m pretty much all in on this one.
The more I listen to Thunder Conjuring Mind, the more I find to like about it. Keyth McGrew and company have hit a definitive groove on this. They’ve expanded their personnel and approach, and it seems like more people means more fun. That’s one thing that truly comes through here: these folks love being Second Culture. They’re ready to play, and push edges, and explore, and we get to dig the results. Plus, personally speaking, I have to admire any artist that notes “100 different variations of Thai Tom Ka soup (vegan)” among their influences for the album. (Along with The Cocteau Twins, Pete Namlook, and Yes, for starters.) Thunder Conjuring Mind is good for your head. It’ll also give your speakers a workout. You need to give this one a listen.
Available from Bandcamp.