Athens Georgia’s multifarious psychedelic roadwarriors DARK MEAT have geared up for another get-go of pillage-and-freakout in the name of their newest offering, TRUCE OPIUM. A long period of lineup changes, label complications and heavy touring across North America and Europe has focused the band into a diamond-hard and transformative experience: they’ve trimmed their lineup to a highly-effective and barely-anemic 9-piece, and, in the process, have organically developed an intense and diverse instrumental chemistry. Truly, TRUCE OPIUM retains all the insane eccentricity, rawness and sonic bombast of their infamous live show, and evinces a sharpened essence and unified vision burnished by the last three years spent spraying themselves across the cosmos in their cramped tour-van.
In terms of heightened vision and sonic-execution, TRUCE OPIUM is a huge step forward for the band -- as it augments their celebrated Albert Ayler, Stooges and Neil Young obsessions with more a abstract, cosmic tack: pronounced Eastern influences abide via the use of acoustic drone-instruments like tanpura, bulbul tarang and sitar, prayerlike group chants and the study and reverent application of polyharmonic Sygyt and Kargira Tuvan throat-singing. Last year, bandmembers workshopped, rehearsed and performed at The University of Georgia with a carnatic classical troupe from South India. This amazing and humbling opportunity, along with their involvement in several local improv, free-jazz and noise ensembles have broadened the band’s sonic and structural scope.
Deep Krautrock and Japanoise bearings also surface; their perpetual tour-van immersion in the sounds of NEU!, Amon Duul II, Les Rallizes Denudes, LSD and Boredoms push their willfully improvisational passages into weirder, wilder territory. And the vaunted Free Jazz and New Orleans Marching Band influences persist through the Vomit Lasers, Dark Meat’s longstanding horn-section. However, where the band once enthusiastically essayed pieces by The Ayler Brothers, Pharaoh Sanders and Sonny Sharrock, the ensemble has now organically assimilated the music’s feral energies and rarified colors into its aesthetics of arrangement, dynamic and performance.
Make no mistake, though, TRUCE OPIUM, at its twisted heart, is a redblooded psych-rock record, as a lived-in and durable love of Velvet Underground, Yardbirds, MC5, Fairport Convention and Crazy Horse continually and joyously warps main songwriter Jim McHugh’s approach to composition and execution. And the passage of material into the raw hands of his seasoned collaborators dually insures that the resultant High Magic will be spirited, raw and unlike anything else you’ve every heard.
Dark Meat share members with of Montreal, Olivia Tremor Control, Circulatory System, Elf Power, Gnarls Barkley, Instruments, Lil Wayne's Touring Band (for real!) and Nymph.