Album Review: Land Between Rivers by Mythic Sunship

Mythic Sunship’s first album for El Paraiso Records, ‘Ouroboros’ had a massive impact with me, to the extent that it made my ‘Essential‘ list last year. I really liked the immediacy of their music, which seemed to mix punk ethos and jazz sensibility with a prog/ space/ stoner rock elements producing something that is innovative and avant garde, yet also accessible and strangely ‘cool’ (not a word I tend to use much).

Perhaps this is what you should expect from a band who named themselves after albums by Sun Ra (‘Of Mythic Worlds’) and John Coltrane (‘Sun Ship’), but there are plenty of bands out there whose name badly belies their music. For Mythic Sunship, however, it’s a fitting starting point for considering what this band are all about. As with ‘Ouroboros’, ‘Land Between Rivers’  is an album that does have an immediate impact, but it is the repeat listens that really get under your skin and have you reaching for the ‘wow button’.

Opening track ‘Nishapur’ initially feels like a solid jam and has you nicely in its grasp, but just as you’re getting comfortable the band click through the gears and the whole thing just gets insanely intense but, and this is what I really like about these guys, they don’t over cook it. Instead they come down into something more simple and stripped back revolving around a simple riff that just brings the track home wonderfully.

After that ‘High Time’ which seems to start with fragments of the Stones’ riff from ‘The Last Time’ before filling it out in a different way, yet somehow retaining a memory of it. I’ve no idea whether there is any intension in this, probably not, but it certainly got me into the track straight away. In actuality the track intensifies and an alarmingly quick rate. This is a really powerful ride, but with that riff fragment appearing again and again in different forms. This, it has to be said, is a total monster of a track that ebbs and flows in a way that seems logical; yet you are uncertain, at any moment, which direction the track will go off in. Once again the jams on this track are just amazing…the sound of a band on top form and totally unleashed upon itself. Indeed there are times when you this that the improvisations might just collapse under their own intensity, but Mythic Sunship always manage to bring it back from the brink. For me there is nothing as good as that in music.

Final track, of three, ‘Silt’ is even heavier with the rhythm section pounding out the beat while the twin guitar attack cumulatively assails the senses on almost operatic scale. This is a monumentally heavy track which drives away all the demons of mediocrity and leaves you in the end strangely cleansed and, frankly, ready to start the album all over again.

With ‘Land Between Rivers’ Mythic Sunship have managed to keep all the things that made their previous album special, and somehow added a sonic layer which makes this album sound even more raw AND accomplished than its predecessor. This is a super-intense set of songs that manage to bring together diverse musical genre and philosophies into a gestalt whole that is both fascinating and frightening.

I hope these guys tour soon because that would be one hell of a ride!




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