Racoo-oo-oon made a huge splash here at Foxy D headquarters a few months back with the arrival of their self-released cassette, "Night People." Their free-form punk rock psychedelia is filled with energy and inspiration. Simply put, they're fucking good. They blend all sorts of musical styles and ideas into one steaming pile of godknowswhat. Hailing from Iowa, these guys are giving us Mid-West folk a good name and proving that it's not location location location! But inspiration inspiration inspiration! Raccoo-oo-oon are definitely one of my favorite new bands.
"The Cave of Spirits" is their first widely-available release and hot damn, what a release it is. If these first two tracks to suck you in and get your ass shaking, you've got issues. Guitar, bass, drum, and vocal freakouts open the album with the title track. Calling to mind Sun City Girls more spastic moments (minus Charles Gocher's awesome vocals), this track is all over the map. Rapid-fire drum bursts are second only to the hypnotic vocal affair that meshes in perfectly. You never know what they're going to lay on you next. It's invigorating.
"Cave of Spirits" leads nicely into the jazz-fused "Under the Deck." Saxophone scrawl is blended perfectly with tripped out acid-laced guitar and chanting-like vocals. It's blissed out in all the right places. Psychedelic mayhem swirls above of your head until you can't take anymore and just start to move. This is way too good.
The transitions between songs is flawless and the sequencing divine. "The Cave of Spirits" clocks in at just under 36 minutes, the perfect length for an album in my eyes. By the time you get to the thrashing of "Stick Eaters," you've been lulled into a trance. Don't worry, this will knock you out of it in a flash. The insanity-filled vocals return with a vengeance. A room filled with confused and angry ghosts couldn't sound this tuned into the ethereal plane. Neither could a group of people sucking down Mushroom tea, but that's beside the point. Everything is in the right place during "Stick Eaters." This is some truly enchanted-forest shit.
I can't overemphasize how great this album is. Raccoo-oo-oon defy definition and know no boundaries. The full-on rock-out of "Forever" is the final feather in the cap. This is a listening experience like no other. Peaks and valleys, the sky and the earth... Raccoo-oo-oon are hellbent on taking you for one wild ride in an effort to free your mind. "The Cave of Spirits" is their manifesto. They have laid down the gauntlet and goddamn if I'm not shivering in their wake. This album is a minor masterpiece. 9/10 -- Brad Rose (26 September, 2005)