The Glasgow-based psych stalwarts return with a split 12" on Newcastle’s The Old Noise label. Flip it and you’ll find The Wizard & the Seven Swine, the debut recording from Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs. There’s a challenge for the name-droppers out there.
There’s a musical challenge, too; The Wizard... is 21 uncompromising minutes of whip-crack guitars and driving, pounding rhythm. Get in its way at your peril. Reverb-soaked vocals are guttural and half-screamed, and there’s a hint of early Hawkwind in there somewhere. Arresting stuff, but not, you suspect, for everyone.
Stick with the A-side because, much in keeping with the colour and shape of their recorded output to date, The Cosmic Dead’s similarly lengthy Djamba is epic and relentless. It’s built around a deep groove but an emerging narrative highlights a level of ambition beyond mere texture and sonics as guitars chime and swell.
Much of the psych-rock juggernaut gradually gaining a foothold of late can seem wilful and attitude-led, built on wobbly foundations, but The Cosmic Dead’s continuing adventures are ever more accomplished. Djamba takes intriguing detours on its way to a disquieting come-down, its various ‘movements’ artfully meshing arrangement and structure in a package more accessible than you might expect.