To this reviewer, the most important elements in space rock are the feeling of movement, and a sense of strange sights being all around you.
Asha Vida delivers the goods on both accounts. To get things moving, a band needs more than just a stiff playing AT a bass and someone to whack the snare on 1 and 3. Having said that, one team I seem to measure all rhythm sections of the astral bent to is Pete Salisbury and Simon Jones of the Verve (before Richard Ashcroft decided he would make them over in some hideous image of a pop band). Asha Vida do wake up echoes of early Verve in a couple of the songs on Nature’s Clumsy Hand, such as “Poena Sensus” and “Il Buon Tempo Verra.”
Back to the strange sights, which Asha Vida achieve through tremolos that are right off choice Spiritualized tunes. Add to that some classic kraut-y distortion and phase shifting, and it’s hard to screw up this mix too much. Asha Vida even has things in their favor when multi-instrumentalist/singer Eric Badynee decides to sing in his not-too-precious falsetto.
Of course, when the cosmos flies about you at relativistic speed, it’s easy to get caught up with how bright the buttons shine on the control panel of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Those who get trapped in the audience at such times may not enjoy the questions and statements of “who can sound the most like a steel guitar,” “Papa’s got a vintage 16 second delay!” or “look Ma, I’m polyrhythmic.”
It all equals out in the end however. I suppose Asha Vida has discovered that it is a big and multi-faceted universe, and somehow this affects the quality of this album, which shoots from brilliant, to “ehh…quit screwing around.”
Written by Pearson Greer.