Mamuthones is the solo project of Alessio Gastaldello, founder and ex drummer of JENNIFER GENTLE, Italy’s psych pop mavericks currently signed to Sub Pop Records. After amicably leaving the band in 2007, Alessio put out a couple of solo releases under the Mamuthones moniker for Italian avant-garde labels like A Silent Place and Boring Machines.
Now he’s back with an unholy racket of an album that sees him supported by a real (and somehow improbable) band formed by longtime associate Marco Fasolo (Jennifer Gentle singer and main man) on guitar and production duties and 62-year old drummer Maurizio Boldrin, a local legend who since the Sixties has played in countless beat and prog groups including Pino Donaggio’s band (yes, the same Donaggio who wrote You don’t have to say you love me and soundtracked multiple Brian De Palma, Nicholas Roeg and Joe Dante movies).
This eponymous album is a definite step beyond previous Mamuthones’ releases: it still retains the droney, foreboding darkness of its older siblings, but this time the sound is the one of a raw, aggressive rock trio.
Shrouded in a haze of psychedelic noise and firmly rooted to Boldrin’s inventive and powerful drumming, the album gathers a series of crushing performances interspersed with shorter, more reflective interludes.
At times hypnotically thundering (The first born), monstrously rhythmic (like on the real tour-de-force that is Ota Benga, all pounding percussion, Sun Ra-styled keyboard solos and fractured guitars) or simply unnerving (check ghostly closer Ave Maria), the album’s heaviness is balanced by tracks like the pulsing Kash-O-Kashak that, with its buzzing bouzouki-like guitars, manages to sound at the same time menacing and melancholic, or the airy, subdued MJ 74 (actually recorded by Maurizio Boldrin back in 1974!).
Like a hard-bitten version of YA HO WAH 13 dealing with the celestial slowness of a Japanese tea ceremony or a Catholic mass celebrated by a demonic Father Karras, Mamuthones have delivered an album of black, truly anguished psychedelia where the listener can find hope glimmering at the end of the tunnel.
Mamuthones - The first born
01. The call
02. The first born
03. Ota Benga
04. A new start
07. Ave Maria