Desert rock brew from the Valleys

Watching the news and seeing the Welsh football team being serenaded the Manic Street Preachers the other week when they returned home from the European Championships, the cynical, curmudgeonly so and so that exists inside MVM was moved to think, just fleetingly, “that must be their punishment for not winning the thing….”

Ok, that might be facetious (for one thing the first few MSP records were pretty good) but there are surely, better bands than that with which to represent the country.

To that end, we offer this, the debut full-length from Lacertilia. A five piece from down there in the valleys, and a more confident, classy first go you will struggle to find.

Forming just three years ago and already sharing the stage Karma To Burn, Elder, Trippy Wicked, Bloody Hammers, Sir Admiral Cloudesley Shovell, Peter Pan Speedrock and more as well as releasing a couple of EP’s along the way, Lacertilia emerge, not quite with wide eyed wonder, but the steely determination of a band who knows exactly what they want to achieve.

“We’re Already Inside Your Mind’s” central tenet, is basically this. A concept record that, say the band:  “centres around the human brain, a prison for the psyche which has been subdued by modern technology and law and order. The band are personified as wise elders, here to help the inhabitants of planet Earth to see things as they really are. The cosmic vibrations and messages within their music are designed to make mankind face its fears, strip away the layers of mental conditioning bestowed upon us and ultimately reveal the power and utmost truth that lies within us all.”

As MVM always says at times like this, whether you choose to buy into the concept element is entirely up to you, but the album works on whatever level you want it to.

It begins and ends with a two-part instrumental, which has echoes of Monster Magnet, and indeed, the thought of Dave Wyndorf at his most unsettling never really goes away throughout. “The Wired And The Weird” begins with the suggestion that “2 Oclock in the morning/everything seems wrong” and it is glorious and fuzzy, desert rock with an acid twist, if you like.

“Tangled Up” is another that approaches things in a different way, and you just know that there’s a dark heart here. Like the respectable business man who at night wants to wear a gimp mask this is a record that you feel would quite happily plummet to depths if you let it.

“Never See The Sun” stomps about with a primal rumble, “Ride With Us” is knowingly unsettling, right from its eerie bassline, and “Earth” is a seven minute stomper full of groove and attitude, and “Fire Up The Engine Of God” not only has one of best titles of the year, it straps itself in for some rollicking good fun.

The thought – that rather like the aforementioned Monster Magnet – Lacertilia would cheerfully turn into a full on psych band at a seconds notice is all over “Round And Round” which jams and slams in equal measure.

Ultimately “We’re Already Inside Your Mind” is never designed to be easy listening. The stadiums and the Icelandic Clap thing can be left to other bands who prefer to play it safe. Lacertilia are perfectly in their own twisted little world, and its one that deserves exploration.

Rating 8/10