Capable of withstanding anything a bald Hollywood action-hero can throw at it.
As a recent convert to the intrinsic worth of stoner rock (due to a rather enthusiastic new housemate), I was pretty knocked out when I discovered I'd be reviewing the new Asteroid record. One word of advice though: I'd advise you to put on a crash helmet before hitting that 'PLAY' button as it's so fucking good I guarantee it'll knock you guys out too.
Rather predictably, Asteroid is a Swedish ensemble (I mean where else would a psychedelic rock band hail from...Grimsby?!), and the new self-titled debut album is a follow-up to 2006's critically acclaimed split album 'Asteroid and Blowback' (if you're not sure what a split album is, eat some fish and have a think - it's really not that hard).
'The Great Unknown' and 'Speaking to the Sea' kick off the album in great style. Robin Hirse's guitar riffs are heavier than Aretha Franklin's thighs and fuzzier than Jim Henson's workshop, while his Hammond Organ drips with psychedelic chords so groovy they'd make Frank Zappa jealous. Asteroid ain't no one-man-show though and Hirse is superbly complemented by Johannes Nilsson on lumbering bass and Marlin Ström on clattering drums.
It's not all strung-out fuzzy space-rock though. The funky bass and delicate bluesy guitar solo on 'Panoramic Telescope' are both seductively magical; the contemplative 'Flowers and Stones' opens with a soft, tempered melancholic guitar lick, while 'Little Fly' unexpectedly throws a playful skiffle beat section into the muddy melange.
Before those who like their rock 'done proper' start to despair, there's thick heavy riffage galore on 'Strange Trip', 'Silver Leaf' and 'The 13th Witching Hour' and the great 'Doctor Smoke'.
The latter's progressive, hazy guitar riffs are sharply focussed by a wailing harmonica and graceful arpeggio melodies, while the cranked-up Hammond Organ injects unabashed cheekiness and exuberance into proceedings and makes you want to listen to every track all over again...if only you had the energy to pick up the remote control...
While it's true that if you're searching for lyrical sophistication and iambic intensity, Asteroid probably isn't your best bet (for example "Do we know where sunshine goes/When the sun no longer shines"...ahem), that's not really the point. Asteroid exists for one reason and reason alone: to rock and this album doesn't disapoint. Quite simply, 'Asteroid' is an album of incredible musicianship, great song writing and a vibe so infectious that the government will probably try to criminalise it.
'Asteroid' (distributed by the aptly-named Fuzzorama Records is out now. Buy it before Bruce Willis blows the fucker up. And if you want to catch them live, Asteroid is playing at The Fiddler's Elbow in Kentish Town on June 1st.