Exposé Online banner

Gilligan Smiles — Friends, Away, Aeroplane
(Claustrophobe, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-06-06

Friends, Away, Aeroplane Cover art

It’s sort of amazing that the era of psychedelic rock lasted only a few years, basically 1966 to 1969, and that if someone sounded psychedelic in 1974, they would have seemed hopelessly out of style. But now it’s more than 40 years later, and a band like Gilligan Smiles sounds fresh and creative playing music that would have been totally at home in 1969. Ah, perspective. And also the fact that I love those sounds — I suppose there are listeners who would hear the wah-wah guitars, phase-shifted drums, echoing voices, twangy sitars, and jangly chords and just think it’s old-fashioned. But stylistic trappings aside, it all comes down to the quality of the songs and performances, and Gilligan Smiles nails it on both. The melodies are catchy without being cliched, the production is spot-on, and the playing is just right. These songs aren’t built around flashy technique — the classic reference is more Sgt. Pepper and Strawberry Alarm Clock than Cream or Jimi Hendrix. The songs are built on chord progressions or drones, not riffs, though most of the tunes are played with a kind of wild abandon that owes more to the Flaming Lips than the Dukes of Stratosphear. The psych trappings are present but don’t seem merely fetishistic. One track will use phase shifting on the drums, another will have the voice run through a filter, another will have sitar. It’s not “everything all the time” but “everything in its place” in service of the song, giving each tune its own distinct flavor. Friends, Away, Aeroplane is a fine example of modern psychedelic rock, and just plain fun to listen to.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Gilligan Smiles

Latest news

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Masque - Third Ear/Third Eye – Third Ear/Third Eye is this brazen Japanese quintet's first CD release (following a couple of cassette releases in the late 80s, plus contributions to the Canterbury Edge and Jazz Rock sampler...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues