Race to Neptune Abandon Fashion
Palm muted ascending notes dance across a fretboard before being slashed in half by a riff weighed down by two giant bags of bricks in the first opening bars of “Mortal Melody,” track one from Abandon Fashion, the all new extended play by Colorado hard rockers Race to Neptune that is taking over the indie rock world this summer with a vengeance. The riffing of the rhythm guitar and the frustrated picking of the lead duel a bit for a couple of minutes before descending into a cymbal-saturated tizzy and unleashing the gravity of Abandon Fashion in its main verse. One is inclined to recall Pentagram, but this is decidedly not as doomy as the legendary metal crew’s work – if it is even “metal” at all.
“Departure,” the second song on Abandon Fashion, starts off with a colorful, highly textured melodic string part before unfolding into a lazy psychedelic sway that is impossible not to become utterly and completely hypnotized by. This track is much more shoegaze influenced than “Mortal Melody,” but minus the synthesizers and plastic empathy. A stunning guitar solo comes storming through about halfway through the song and we’re pummeled between the wall of sound the backend of the band is churning out and the angular girth of the lead guitar. If you love big harmonies as much as I do, it really doesn’t get better than what Race to Neptune do with this track and this entire EP as a whole; this is voluptuous, full-figured rock n’ roll for the discerning listener.
“Sunsets” kicks off the second half of Abandon Fashion with some smoky psychedelic banter between the guitar and the heavy handed drumming. It’s funny to try and imagine, but when you listen to Race to Neptune it’s almost like you’re not listening to a band of multiple musicians but instead a collection of lights combining forces to make one super powerful beam of light that is a singular entity instead of a multifaceted one. Race to Neptune come roaring through any record they make with a precision-cut intensity that is hard to breakdown, but if you’ve got an ear for music and listen closely enough, you can see that they are in fact a band and not some holy power accumulating in our stereo.
Abandon Fashion’s title track rounds out its four song playlist, and is perhaps the most haunting and ominous piece of material on the entire record. About two minutes of spine-tingling note-juggling gives way to a militaristic drum beat that only picks up more momentum as the track climbs towards the climactic peak of the extended play. Unrestricted, a wild, no holds barred style jam ensues that cycles in and out of our minds, modulating the tempo and temperature of the track before finally fading away into the ethers from which it was spawned. To summarize my experience of listening to this record would take far more space then I’m allotted as a critic, but I’ll put it very simply. Race to Neptune is making the most stimulating, thought-provoking rock music of any band in 2018, and you’d really have to be a fool not to check out the innovative content they’re producing.
Jennifer Hurtzler approved by Michael Rand