Telestrion’s second full-length Blazing the Sky makes no qualms about the Atlanta group’s influence from groups like Hawkwind, early Pink Floyd, and Captain Beyond. However, their space rock execution reminds me more of Monster Magnet than anybody else. The vocals have a similar huskily melodic character and the guitars boast a fuzzy crunch that avoids getting too metallic or bottom heavy. Fortunately, the spacy keyboard intrusions and occasional acoustics serve as a smooth link between worlds, and the musicianship has enough chemistry to keep the loose vibes from getting too directionless.
Blazing in the Sky may be defined by off-the-cuff jams and instrumental navel gazing, but there is purpose in its structuring. There are three parts to the album, not quite equal in length but each sequence’s songs flow like symphonic movements. The album’s first seven songs make up this first part and ease the listener in with a punchy yet accessible style. “The Peak” and “Paperclip” make for fun, light-hearted rockers.
But things start to get pretty ballsy once the second part kicks in. A switch seems to turn on with the muscular swagger on “Out in the Hills” that carries over to the heavy blues foretelling on “A Storm is Comin.” From there, “I Ain’t Got Time for Time” proves to be a driving rocker that transitions to its psyched out second half quite nicely. It would’ve been great to see this portion be fleshed out more as it is easily the meat of the album.
After all this buildup, the album’s third part sees the band finally give into the madness that is extended instrumental improvisation. This sequence will easily be the biggest contention point with most listeners, and I’ll admit that “Midnight Never Ends” sure lives up to its name. However, each of the four tracks has a template that helps it stay distinct as “Kykeon” features a shift from Hawkwind to what sounds like echoes of Pink Floyd (pun intended) while “The Law of Averages” closes the album out with subtly driving Can-style krautrock. The exhaustive nature of these tracks may make it tricky to revisit them, but the earlier songs do build up to them naturally.
Overall, Blazing in the Sky requires a certain mood to get a feel for, but makes for a breezy listen once you’re there. The writing could stand to be more memorable at times, particularly during the first half, but it has the feel of a grower. The music flows well through the styles on display and the musicianship is enjoyable even at its most self-indulgent. The longer songs probably sound better with certain substances involved, but a good pair of headphones and adequate lighting should suffice.
“Out in the Hills”
“A Storm is Comin”
“I Ain’t Got Time for Time”
“The Law of Averages”