March 24, 2024

Wow! This is the genuine article – a full-on recreation of 1969 heavy psych-rock! The Lunar Effect are a quartet with a flair for humungous hair and a penchant for fuzzy, snarling retro-riffs who have been rattling the rafters since their formation in 2016. Starting as a grunge outfit with a retro hard-rock impulse, they began to expand their sonic scope and crash-landed onto the stoner scene with their debut album ‘Calm Before the Calm’ in 2019. The band are (normally) a foursome from London, with Jon Jefford on guitar and piano, Dan Jefford on drums, Brett Halsey on bass, and Josh Gosling on vocals.

Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you….The Lunar Effect!

The band now hit us on 12th April with another slab of Sabbathesque, Iron Butterfly, even Bad Company or Free-inspired heavy bluesy retro-rock with “Sounds of Green & Blue“, out in April via Svart Records. With every song propelled into orbit by fuzz laden riffs, there is no denying that the Londoners mean business. There’s a touch of psychedelic visions throughout, perhaps less than earlier material, a sumptuous vintage sound that manages to sound fresh and contemporary as well, bringing a touch of stoner rock into their own unique mould. Seriously, these guys sound like some of the more far-out inclusions on my trusty well-loved United Artists triple sampler from the late 60’s entitled All Good Clean Fun – a mightily wacky beast if you can still find it!

Sounds of Green & Blue sees The Lunar Effect expanding their sonic scope and bending all the elements and eras of Classic Rock into their own unique mould. The album is a testament to their musical growth and willingness to explore new territories while maintaining the brooding vintage sound that defines them. Each track is propelled into orbit by the low-end buzz of distorted chords, powerful enough to blow those legendary stacks of speakers but blessed with a beautifully crisp, clean contemporary production.

Ocean Queen is the first of nine tasty offerings here, an “N.I.B. style opening, a la Sabbath” proving to be very much a signature intro, leading into a 60’s-drenched interlude before the much-anticipated juggernaut riff assaults you – this is psych-fuzz-stoner rock at its very best! Flowers for Effect is next, a short but sweet dose of full-on energetic rock with completely OTT vocals. Nice spacey effect in the middle section. Colour My World sort of mooches its way in, deeply bluesy in feel to start with, the guitar sounds almost under water at times. Josh’s voice floats superbly above this before the megalithic riff kicks in – these guys know how to mix soft and heavy so well. This track is slow in tempo but oh-so powerful, with added shimmering fuzzed solo in the middle section. And then it gracefully fades away…or not – a great climax to a clever composition.

In Grey is luscious, timeless, blues-rock. A quite sparse production driven by a gentle, restrained but sinuous guitar line, with soaring vocals swirling above. More fuzzy yet softly melodious guitar lines follow, this is almost dreamily pastoral until the anthemic chorus kicks in. I love the tastily tuneful bridge section which follows, succeeded by a fabulous later solo that also underlines just how good the bass and drums section is – I adore this track! Middle Of The End continues this sense of a crisp, slightly sparse production, a cavernous, echoey vibe to it that’s beautifully punctuated by Jon Jefford’s delicious piano work. There’s a real “film-noir” cinematic feel to this one, another great track with lots of clean percussion – and such strong controlled passion from Josh’s vocals, excellent bluesy but ballsy stuff.

Pulling Daisies is the first single from the album, it again features an understated guitar line to start with, spooky vocals, then the meaty rifferama – a full-on fuzz assault while still keeping the original ear-worm line. The track combines classic Blues tones, fuzzy guitars, swirling ethereal vocals, and a dusty, hypnotic rhythm that transports listeners to an aural wonderland, it certainly showcases The Lunar Effect’s ability to craft immersive and soul side musical experiences. I Cant Say could be Free or Bad Company, a simple, unsettling riff kicking it off, some measured vocals and back-beat before the whole band steps up a notch or three. It’s a straight-forward track but by ‘eck it works.

Fear Before The Fall is another great track – a compelling mix of mesmeric, ethereal piano underpinning a classic slow rock arrangement – and it strikes me that this one’s very much in the style of The Tea Party? Josh’s vocals are hugely strong throughout this album but I have to highlight his efforts on this one, he’s got such a wide range without losing control. Such strong sweeping vocals and a really simple but effective composition, topped by a very tasty solo – the musicianship from all four on this is so classy.

On The Story Goes closes the selection, another clean slab of vintage heavy rock. It has an insidious beat to it to start with that soon develops into a full-on rock riff redolent of so many previous greats. This band can seemingly create classic retro-rock with their eyes closed. Such a powerful work-out, this is more great stuff – I’m so hard pressed to pin down my fave rave from the selection….but maybe this one gets my vote because of the crisply crashing choruses, followed by a wonderful bridge section that then builds to a suitably beefy crescendo, all four musicians on the top of their game – and I just love that riff!

From the heyday of Sabbath, Free, Bad Company to newer artists like Graveyard, Radio Moscow and Red Fang, The Lunar Effect have created a masterclass in timeless Heavy Rock that takes you firmly by the collar. With a palette that also includes shades of the 90s Grunge scene like Nirvana and Soundgarden into their heady mix, The Lunar Effect paint their own retro-world where genres blur into their unique brew of heart-felt vintage heavy rock – I love this album and strongly suggest you give it a whirl – another very strong early contender for my Album Of The Year!

Sounds of Green & Blue by The Lunar Effect is proudly released by Svart Records, a label known for its commitment to uncovering high-quality, diverse, and boundary-pushing music. Svart Records continues to be a platform for artists who defy conventions, push the boundaries of their respective genres, and break out of the underground – good on them.