One thing you cannot say about Ontario’s alternative rock band, Timeless Void, is that they are not generous. On their previously critically acclaimed album, entitled “Voidland”, Alex Hilson (Flute, Guitar, Bass & Vocals) and Eric St-Pierre (Production, Guitar, Vocals, Bass), delivered 18 staggering acid-psychedelic influenced tracks. Now at the end of 2015, the creative duo is back with a mind-blowing 23-track, psychedelic magnum opus, collectively called, “Voidland 2 (Life and Death in America)”.
A friend and I were recently reminiscing of a space in time before there were music downloads, Mp3’s, iTunes and iPods; a time when vinyl was the musical medium. Albums contained liner notes and lyric sheets that were printed large enough to read. Cover art was captivating and meant to be enjoyed. Individual songs were heard as being just a smaller segment of a larger collection of work. You dropped the needle, sat down, and took it in from start to finish. Like a great movie, you wouldn’t dare leave before the end. Every song set up the next one. The music was the event of that moment in time, not a wallpaper back drop. “Voidland 2 (Life and Death in America)” is of that time, transported to 50 years later. I kept listening for the pops and scratches on the record, but it never came.
What sets this album apart from previous Timeless Void releases is the liberal use of tasty sound effects and studio tricks that complement the overall texture. They are one of a handful of bands who are truly doing interesting, odd, and new things with the rock genre. The oddest being that they are probably the only rock band of any kind, without a drummer. This is both their biggest drawback as well as their best advantage, depending from which side of the half-full, half-empty glass, you’re looking through. Either way it’s probably their most distinguishing factor, until you hear the music. Timeless Void is a lush musical feast for the ear and the head. They are on the rock cutting edge: progressive and creative yet with some very fine instrumentation that lends a mature feel to their songs.
The one major factor which makes this album so great is that the songs are simply amazing. I don’t mean that in a real technical way, but the fact that “Voidland 2 (Life and Death in America)” will really will blow your mind if listened to properly (the real effect comes only if you’re stoned, but for a nice substitute, put it on the player, turn out the lights, kick back and close your eyes.) This is exactly where the lack of a drummer becomes positively essential to the overall mesmerizing effect – no sudden thuds, bangs and crashes to intrude into the spellbinding musical sorties, drowned in mid 60s experimentation and acid-ridden atmospheres.
Alex Hilson and Eric St-Pierre deliver a magnificent combination of cosmic, swirling guitar, bass and vocal sounds that are at once compelling. The guitars put down the moods necessary and achieve some astonishing hooks and effects that last just long enough to make you care and just briefly enough to make you miss them after they pass. They have all the makings of taking your mind on a head trip. The vocalizing and profound psychedelic overdubs, intertwine with rock solid bass riffs to produce a musical accomplishment of rare proportion.
Art can be very interesting when produced by artists who are a bit experimental and unpredictable, and this album is an excellent example of that. A thought provoking carousel of sonic images emerges and will amaze the gifted listener. Musical arrangements flow together into a stream of endless variations. A cosmic electric symphony unfolds a panorama of kaleidoscopic vocal archetypes, while pulsating rhythms and synchronous lyrical ripplings, smooth out the rest of the trip. The music is complex in its chords, textures, tones and rhythms sans drums. The subject matter is unusual to say the least. Of the 23 tracks there are just too many to single out as highlights, though I do have a soft spot for the slower vocal numbers like “Stop & Smell The Roses”, “Our Last Stand”, “Urban Fever”, “My Shadow” and “Yours Forever”.
It’s interesting to note that the closing instrumental track, “Stuck On Mars”, features some prominent drumming. Is this a premonitory sign of things to come? “Voidland 2 (Life and Death in America)” is a unique album, anything but a retro-induced cliché, and it deserves an in-depth listen from any serious listener of 60s acid or psychedelic music.