Sri Aurobindo – Cave Painting
Sri Aurobindo are what’s often referred to as a ‘guitar band,’ the kind of act whose records are dominated by swirling overdubs of noodling leads and effects pedal textures. But that kind of characterization would diminish how key bass guitar is to the Baltimore quartet, who have one of the best bass sounds going: fuzzed out and high in the mix, but round and appealing, like a foghorn cutting through the otherwise trebly mix. On Cave Painting, their first release for Friends Records, Sri Aurobindo’s bass is in your face more than ever, hooking you even when the lyrics are impossible to make out and the psychedelic songs’ shaggy structures are hard to follow. In fact, that massive low end may be what ultimately sets the band apart from the pack of similar psych rock acts currently crowing the indie scene.
In 2009, Sri Aurobindo released two albums that both skated just past the half hour mark: a 6-song self-titled debut, and the ambitious Return To Earth, which consisted of just one long track. Cave Painting isn’t much longer, but packs in nine songs all of varying lengths, from 2-minute miniatures to epics that run as long as 8 minutes. Of the latter, “Don’t Know” is a particular standout, with the band’s instrumental workouts once again outshining their songwriting when the ineffectual refrain of “and I just don’t know” blasts off into a killer guitar freakout.
One song that effectively splits the difference between the brief vignettes and the long jams is “My Luv Is Stoned,” a sunny summer jam that features the album’s most memorable chorus. It’s hard to say what direction Sri Aurobindo will take on future releases, or if they’ll keep churning out albums at such a breakneck pace, but Cave Painting leaves some pretty encouraging signposts pointing toward where the band could be headed.