You'd think the psych revival might be showing signs of flagging by now, but that couldn't be futher from the truth. Events such as The Liverpool Psych Fest and The Austin Psych Fest have proved there's an ongoing hunger for the wide-ranging genre, and both have played host to California's White Manna. Where they fit in on the whole psychedelic spectrum is in the realm of searing space-rock rather than anything jangly or sunkissed; these songs are deep, weighty, powerful and more concerned with taking you on an interstellar trip than putting flowers in your hair.
New album 'Pan' takes its name from the Greek god of nature, who is curiously also the god of theatrical crticism, although you won't find much theatre, or indeed nature, amongst these six tracks (don't worry, you get your money's worth, there's nothing under five minutes here). It's the scorching title-track that gets things underway, with a hefty riff, flashes of organ, and vocals filtered through a thick fog of echo. It's something akin to Hawkwind joining forces with The Brian Jonestown Massacre. It's a similar story with 'Evil', where White Manna' are in potential single territory, and not just because it's the shortest track here. A catchy yet simple riff is hauled along by a driving rhythm section and engages on first listen.
'Dunes I' also has this flurry of chugging guitars and swirling effects as they keep the engine running at full pelt and the amps turned up to eleven, but 'Dunes II' sees the band easing back a touch. The potency is still there, but it's left on a slow burn, a little bit like The Verve's first album only with more intensity. Musically, 'Beta Brothers' sounds as though it's on fire, but the flames die down to allow the vocals room, before switching back to their freewheeling urgency for the instrumental breaks. Fans of epic last tracks might like to get lost in 'Eshra'. At almost twelve minutes, this is a song that begins slowly and builds to a pounding wall of noise that changes direction and tempo more than once. A suitably cosmic ending to a marvellously cosmic album.