Awesome Color must have kick-ass practices. The Detroit-bred NYC trio seems to be way into tossing around half-cooked song ideas, plugging in pedals, and just letting its scuzzy garage rock rip. Problem is, it sounds like a few of those jam sessions were all the group poured into its third record.
Massa Hypnos is a mess of ambling vocals, sloppy playing, and erratic song structures — a mangled jangle all coated in old fuzz. For a garage rock act, that description doesn’t sound half-bad on paper yet the album is lacking the killer moments needed to make the affair a memorable trip. Bright spots like the confrontational guitar behind “Transparent” and the weirdly tender “Flying” (which resembles the Replacements attempting a ska song while heavily plastered) float by early, and the remaining six tracks don’t aim for anything impressive. “Oaxaca” and “IOU” have promising starts (one squeals and the other shimmies), but both degenerate into shapeless noodling. The particularly fuzzy “White Cloud” gets grating quickly. “Zombie” has a decent tune, but that’s hidden beneath Derek Stanton’s John Reis-style drawl sharing shlocky lyrics about monster babies and eating flesh.
Massa is never straight-up bad; it’s just that Awesome Color could pull off punchier material if it carved stronger hooks and edited its existing material judiciously. (Ecstatic Peace)