(4 out of 5)
Sadly, there are far too few bands around today willing to pay overt homage to the psychotic psychedelia of Roky Erickson, but Belgian rockers Creature With An Atom Brain do just that…sort of. While the band takes its name from track Erickson recorded during the early ‘80s, there’s little else CWTAB shares with the fractured, confessional weirdness Erickson is known for. That’s not to say that these Belgians – who have ties to the Joshua Tree/Desert Sessions scene, and count Mark Lanegan and fellow Erickson acolyte Chris Goss (Masters of Reality) as guests on this album – aren’t tripping nearly as hard as Erickson was; it’s just that the sound they generate is substantially less cathartic. For TRANSYLVANIA, the group’s second full-length, CWTAB lull themselves into a groove that evokes both the desert haze of American stoner rock and the gentle swoon of a woozy Jeff Beck jam. There’s a concerted effort to evoke a dark vibe – “Lonely Light” (which features Lanegan), “I Rise the Moon,” “Something Is Wrong” – but the surprisingly lilting melodic passages and occasional Floyd-ian flourishes (see: “Darker Than A Dungeon”) keep things from ever getting too dismal.