Holland’s Radar Men From The Moon returned with Echo Forever in 2012. Toning down the samples and sound bites of B Movies which peppered their sensational debut Intergalactic Dada & Space Trombones, this trio of Dutchmen returned with a softer, more introspective (the first half at least) follow-up.
The title track starts in an almost serene manner with delicate guitar shimmers, subdued drums and unfussy bass. Curiously for a space rock album opener, it glides rather blasts until past the 5 minute mark, but the smoothness of the piece shows the hand of a confident group of musicians. ‘Atomic Mother’ sporadically breaks out into the heavy riffage of Intergalactic Dada… in between sections of ringing guitar effects. It has a rather Sonic Youth flavour to it. ‘Dance Of Black And White Paint’ has surprisingly funky drums and the guitar alternates between hammering the anvil and splashing light on a mirrorball. ‘Darkness’ descends with a post punk twilight glow that isn’t a million miles from The Cure. ‘Hunting For The Void’ brings in a more ominous outing for the rhythm section and feels a little more akin to traditional space rock, that you can nod you head to and drink cider at the same time. ‘Where Sky Meets The Earth’ continues the album’s increasing pressure, sounding vaguely like ‘The Chain’ forced through a fine wire mesh. Pleasingly, at about the 4 minute mark it strips down to the drum beat and becomes a bewitching, danceable delight. It would be interesting to see RMFTM pursue this angle more as one suspects they could kick out a hell of a groove if let off the reins. Obligatory epic closer ‘Avant-Garde Luxury’ starts with a Radiophonic Workshop depiction out of an alien sky (a tad self-defeating for space rock) in which the instruments are slowly revealed until hitting their stride at around 3 minutes, it shows a band happy to explore its themes and ideas. There’s a looseness to RMFTM that helps to separate from the competition.
An oddly low-key space rock album that doesn’t attain the stunning levels of its predecessor but instead offers an intriguing view of space rock that isn’t continuous 4/4 pounding, gazing more towards Sonic Youth than Hawkwind. Maybe a little too reliant on loud – quiet alternation, Echo Forever is a classy album by a gifted set of musicians.
CHECK IT OUT – RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON ‘HEADING FOR THE VOID’