Borders are a construct of the human world. An imaginary vector etched into the ground and projected into the sky that defines one place from the one next to it. Sometimes this line is little more than a friendly subtle transformation and sometimes it’s an enflamed spike covered impasse.
For The Myrrors, Tuson Arizona is home and just 60 desert miles south of home is the border with Mexico. The one that a certain fuckwit wants to build a wall along. This review isn’t the place to necessarily dive into the wider political story around the US/Mexico border issue but it’s certainly something that literally frames their new album Borderlands.
Awakening works like a brief free jazz alarm call. The Blood That Runs The Border and Formaciones Rojas feels like two related parts, a journey from one domain into another. The first is a classic Myrrors slow motion shuffle punctuated with Amon Duul viola blossoms. High resolution blurring before spectacularly tumbling into a kaleidoscopic, magic carpet ride of Formaciones Rojas. The tune feels like it’s turned in on itself as it pulses and spins. A heaving human joyous mass of flutes, viola and drums that just keeps rolling. This a dance on top of the mountain at dawn – it’s encrusted in a cosmic folky quality that feels exhilarating and unique.
Biznagas is a smooth, snaking meditation on spherical cacti. Call for Unity feels like a cut from the Remains boxset by International Harvester. The sound comes on like it’s already been thrashed out for days in a remote barn before the recording slowly fades in. A wild static block of interlocking organic precision.
Note from the Underground may well be the literal magnification of an instant of the Velvet Underground. A screaming, intoxicating 20-minute explosion. Flesh and bone reduced to machines. A physically punishing column of sound that demands high volume. The sound fizzes and morphs into an undefined stream of wailing lava. Details of sax, tiny inflections appear in the soup as its leads spectacularly to nowhere.
And in a way, as they mature, it’s clear the band, naturally explore new ideas. Entranced Earth (2016) felt like eavesdropping on a desert ceremony, a suite of desert ambience. The immediately previous album Hasta la Victoria (2017) seems to sag a little in the middle due to the practical fact, as a listener, I was blown away by two vast and stunning sprawling monster tracks that began and ended that album.
It seems a strange observation that Borderland carves out this same uneven trajectory. I can’t help feeling that in some cases the limitations of the LP actually frame them too tightly – 44 minutes maybe isn’t the right sized window somehow. At least 3 tracks on this disc could have actually wound as longform single huge tracks… Or the whole album could have been formatted/edited and magnified differently and there would be yet more wormholes and amazingness. Far from the idea of simply or idlily filling more space, the grooves and textures throughout are so heady, it’s hard not to see wildly extended mirages fizzing out of much of this disc.
The Arizonian landscape is dominated by the Sonoran desert and The Myrrors often refer to their sound as ‘Sonoran Trace’. It’s clear that any huge expansive landscape has a fundamental impact. For them, the desert is a parallel to the underlying drone that forms the very core of their music. Huge sweeping horizons etched in rock, dust and spikey plants, forming vistas that quite possibly almost reveal the curvature of the planet.
Borderlands is undoubtedly another breathtaking album but gives the lingering taste that it’s somehow a sketchbook for even more remarkable beasts. Whilst the subtext here is perhaps that this new release attempts to showcase too much, it’s a truly fantastic problem to have.
Borderlands is out on 17 August 2018 on Beyond Beyond Is Beyond on vinyl, CD and digital download.