album review: spiritual vegas

Released on July 10th of this year, PAINT’s latest album Spiritual Vegas picks up right where 2018’s Paint left off, but this time with a more whimsical and wavy haze. This second album from the solo project of Pedrum Siadatian of Allah-Las walks a line that still embraces the raw qualities we loved about the debut, while giving us a fresh display of refined instrumentals to appreciate. In 16 tracks, Siadatian once again proves his musical diversity by utilizing a wide range of influences that go further and deeper than the California sound he picked up traction with in the Allah-Las. PAINT’s work fits nicely along with the stylings of Lou Reed and Television, paying homage to their roughly presented work with a crisp interior, but with a modern spacey spin, even featuring middle eastern influences peppered throughout. 

The album opens with an intro to set the tone of the work and leaves us in an atmosphere somewhat like the one that Pink Floyd created in their 1971 album Meddle. This leads into the first full track, “Strange World” that boasts wavey and low vocals with killer drums and guitar solo work to go along with them. “Strange World” is playful and fanciful, immediately reminding me of a more digestible, 21st century take on Ultimate Spinach’s “Mind Flowers”. Moving forward in the album, we get to one of my favorite tracks “Lanolin” that marries the childlike draw of Nilsson’s nonsensical lyrics with the aesthetic experimentation of Syd Barrett’s 1968 album The Madcap Laughs. This track is super bouncy and inviting and the horn we hear around the 1:30 mark as well as the tension created by the repeating verse at the end sets it apart from anything else on the album.

Next up, “Flying Fox” couldn’t have had a more accurate name because for the two and a half minutes I’m listening to it, I feel like I am flying. This song absolutely oozes with the goo that King Gizzard and Mild High Club’s Sketches of Brunswick East offers as the keys blend with the flute so effortlessly throughout the piece. “Tar Fardah” follows perfectly and is no doubt a strong point in the album which made it an obvious choice to be the first single released off the work in May. Translating to “Till Tomorrow”, this song is sung in Farci taking influence from Sidatian’s Irainian roots and well as the popping psychedelia of 70’s Middle Eastern music. Moving down the line, “Meet Me (In St. Lucia)” once again is reminiscent of the stylings of Syd Barrett with its understanded instrumentals, unassuming self harmonies, and rolling riffs that keep the steady head bobbing pace. Lines like “I can’t stand still cause you hooked me by the gills I’m in the treehouse on the hill come and see me” couldn’t be more classically Barett inspired and I am such a sucker for the way Siadatian executes them.

To follow this comes the second single release “Land Man” that catches you as soon as it begins with an absolutely killer opening and a psychedelic feel. “Tongue Tied” explores a power-pop realm that dishes out total Big Star charm and I love hearing that direction in PAINT’s work. Contrasting this, “Ballad of Adelaide” does a total 180 and focuses heavily on instrumentation rather than performance. The string heavy focus on the track allows room for conversational dialogue, letting the narration suck us down the rabbit-hole even further before the lyrics “I gave it a thought or two” bring us back to the familiar sway of the song. The next song “Well of Memory / ODAAT” carries shoulder shrugging percussion that serves as the last semi-danceable track we receive on the album. Nearing the end, “Impressions” is a total palette cleanser that stays super light despite its intricacy and impressively enough, it bangs on for a whole five minutes before leading us into the Outro. 

Throughout this album Siadatian’s guitar work displays not only his creativity as a writer, but his heaps of technical skill as a guitarist. Every song has its place and there’s not one land mine on the whole work. After being a fan of the Allah-Las for quite some time, seeing this side of what Siadatian can do has only made me more appreciative of all the sides of this complex musician. 

Listen to Spiritual Vegas here:

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