Current Issue Details

Buy Current Issue

Reviews > CDs

Published: 2003/11/28
by Jamie Lee

Things Are Going Just The Way They Should – Transcendental Hayride

It’s impossible to deny the proliferating influence of the 1960s San
Francisco psychedelic music scene on modern day improvisational music. It’s
just about as hard to deny the influences of that very scene on
Transcendental Hayride, a quintet of musicians that call Haight-Ashbury – that sacred Bay Area beacon – home.
The brainchild of songwriter, singer and rhythm guitarist Dano Kildsig,
Transcendental Hayride are making a play to preserve those building blocks
of the early jam music scene – the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, among
others – and their sound is soaked through with recycled riffing and those
pounding, familiar rhythms. But in a world where these very influences have
perpetuated sounds and composers that are currently rising beyond such
predictable strains to dive into unknown sonic worlds, it’s hard avoid
one simple question: why?

The reason, which is obvious on the band’s album, Things are Going Just
Way they Should, is that Kildsig, keyboardist Brackett Clark, guitarist
Kurt Moss, bassist Nick Massaro and drummer Jack McFadden are more talented
than they realize. The album opens with a segueing, four song suite that
runs through "Blithe Spirit," "Spirit Reprise," "Government Secret," and
ends with "Treasure," gives confirmation that the band are able musicians
and despite some slight overindulgences, are true players . However, it is
not until the center portion of the 14-track collection that their ethereal
songwriting prowess is revealed.

Once past some overly emphasized nods to their musical forebears and the
homogenized melodies that saturate a slew of these songs, classic
songwriting and inventive arrangements are discovered on two profoundly
emotive tracks. "Just Another Day" finds the band in top form, both
lyrically and musically. What the preceding songs offer in wah-wah melodies
and inherent nostalgia, this track replaces with dueling pedal steel and
slide guitar and a coasting acoustic rhythm. The track is set to a mid-tempo
backdrop and is bolstered by intricately placed vocals that fall just behind
the beat, propelling the song forward in a fashion that foreshadows the
bands potential to move beyond mere influences. "Feeling Down" continues
this subtle, polished course and is injected with flourishes of Clark’s
crystal-toned piano that swirl around acoustic textures courtesy of Kildsig
and Moss.
If anything, Things Are Going Just The Way They Should spotlights a
with infinite skill and powerful songwriting, but without a clear focus of
their musical strength . They pull from their collective hat a wealth of
tight arrangements and brave forays into classic and future rock and roll,
yet their forte seems to lie in a core of song structure and melody that
could be musically dangerous they are fully realized, as on portions of this
album. It is in these hot spots that their influence are less obvious,
their skills more refined, and their potential immeasurable.

Show 0 Comments