Lavender Flu, The
Heavy AirHoly Mountain
A home-recording project completely open to experimentation but in love with songs, The Lavender Flu is masterminded by Chris Gunn (The Hunches, Hospitals). Their massive 30-song debut double-album Heavy Air was conceived over a period of years and outside of the genre concentration camps. Like Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life remade by the ghost of Phillip K. Dick, it’s psychedelic and dense, projecting sounds as images inside your head, layers and layers yielding new secrets with each listen.
Heavy Air winds a circuitous path through pop songs (“My Time,” “Those That Bend”—with a “Waterloo Sunset” vibe), blasted rockers (“Fingers Like Wounds”), beautiful instrumentals (“Feel the Ground,” “Telepathic Axe”), fractured folk (“Between The Trees”), weirder experimental pieces (“Vacuum Creature,” “La-Bas”), straight-up fried epics (“Transcendental Hangover”) plus a few covers in the mix, including a maximal / minimal take on The Godz’ mantra-like ode to sun worship and a Townes Van Zandt tune that is derailed by a massive panic attack. Lyrics and melodies appear and reappear as half-remembered dreams or reconstructed memories. Traces of Big Star, Royal Trux, Brian Eno, Meat Puppets II and American Beauty are in the DNA but The Lavender Flu is its own beast.
“Stitched together with a ragged twine of thought, the album could prove exhausting to the uninitiated, but those who’ve found room for Gunn’s brand of veiled pop bombast will find Easter Eggs aplenty throughout this release. Out of the clamor and clash rise some beautiful moments of folk pop like ‘Those That Bend’ or ‘My Time,’ both cuts that wouldn’t seem out of place cozying up to some Elephant 6 disciples. Hell, the whole record would fit in with the Collective’s vibe of sun-streaked psych mixed with ‘Green Typewriters’-style experimentation and for the cadre of listeners out there looking for that heady stew, look no further, Lavender Flu’s world is a dense rabbit hole worth exploring and re-exploring. Plenty of psychic fallout to tide you ’til Springtime.” —Raven Sings the Blues
“[A] stubbornly unpolished, unhurried, often phantasmagoric 30-track double-album of songs, instrumentals and studio fragments. There are a few relatively straightforward (but distortion-buzzed) songs and many others that are mixed inside-out or come unglued and mutate as they go. ‘Between you and the abyss is what you want to know,’ Mr. Gunn sings amid the fuzztone and tinkly percussion of ‘Transcendental Hangover’; that’s where the Lavender Flu situates itself.” —Jon Parles, The New York Times