Regulus fans might be interested to check out Luke Jennings’ other love, DELTANAUT, a psychadelic-stoner band with a hint of prog, who are making waves with their heavily instrumental debut album, 'Part I'. Regulus bandmate Joe Milburn recorded drums on the album but has since left the band, replaced on tour recently by Chris Daniels (Normaliser), and alongside Niall Kingdom (Black Thunder Revue, Santiago Kings) on bass they are Deltanaut.
I listened to the album raw first then I asked about the story behind the music. I found it useful to get my first impression and then find out what the back story was, the meaning behind it all. I was immediately struck by how ambitious, complex and finely textured the album is, with constant rhythm changes and some truly beautiful guitar parts.
'Bells of the Skychurch' is the opening track, the shortest on the album at 9 minutes. It's atmospheric prog-stoner at its best, with heavy reverb, a deep rich drum beat, low bass and screaming guitars; waves of music changing pace throughout and going out with a bang. There's a futuristic theme, depicted through the music, a ship (the Skychurch) launched into space, the start of a journey…
We merge seamlessly into 'Horror Vacui', a mere 18 minutes in length, with a faster tempo and more urgency, depicting a cataclysmal disaster, with an underlying funky groove and all very psychedelic in the first few minutes, chaotic almost, developing into a bluesy track with a steady grumbling drum beat. This change of pace and style mid-song is typical throughout the album, as Deltanaut push boundaries; Niall says "The album was writing by purely free form jams, the first three tracks came out of our first couple of sessions as a band, Deltanaut and Sorceress came after that".
'Jam' is the third in this trio of instrumental tracks, throwing down repetitive riffs as the track attempts to portray the feeling of being lost in space, trapped between life and death. This is the most melancholic track so far, understandable given the story, and very ambient - I can picture the smoke-filled stage with 3 disconsolate figures emerging from the smoke… There are some more hope-filled parts, and I found the whole experience to be optimistic rather than depressing, with a lovely laid back groove, but the track is very poignant, especially with the solo guitarist towards the end.
Apparently 'Deltanaut' serves as an explanation or a recap of the story so far, which I didn’t quite get but I did find to be the most powerful track on the album and my favourite track behind Jam. Again the song mixes up the pace and throws in some surprises. The vocal comes in at 5 minutes and the overall feel is a murky stoner track, with some finger-flying guitar work at 13 minutes (just over halfway through).
The 16 minute closing track, 'The Sorceress', picks up where 'Jam' finished, the hero of the story alone and lost. The song introduces a seductive quality, most probably the Sorceress of the title, bewitching and beguiling. Again the vocals start 5 minutes into the track, and the song climbs to an impressive and upbeat finale to complete the futuristic tale.
The band say "We started recording Part I two years ago, and now it's finally released to the world! 80 minutes of pure, unadulterated psych! We're all incredibly proud of what we've achieved and the response that we've had to Part I, especially after how hard we've worked to get it made".
The album is rife with explosions of sound and velvety texture, the music twisting and turning in line with the back story, giving a narrative without the need for words. It's really impressive that the album was borne from jamming sessions, and that the fantastical tale behind the music emerged, and this debut album is a must buy if you like your prog/psych/stoner rock.
Bells of the Skychurch