Those who don’t enjoy ‘the Wellington sound’ might want to hold prolific musician Ryan Prebble to account. With fingers in many pies including Fly My Pretties, Dubcheck, The Inkling, The Chandeliers, and of course Big Nudge Pie, Prebble also has a tight grip on Spartacus R, the band that he is vocalist, Rhodes player and guitar player for. Five other musicians and about ten other instruments are also on board space ship Spartacus R as it cruises off to explore galaxies far, far away.
The View is the group’s second album, and while Spartacus R lacks the sexy insanity of The Nudge, it has plenty of extra-terrestial weirdness to make up for it. The album opens with a doorbell and ghost footsteps on Rapata before bursting into head-nodding dub. This buzzy song could be an alternative theme tune for Adult Swim cartoon Venture Bros. Next track Mutant Musings features a groovy B52s bassline and Prebble is at his growly best on the ominous The View.
Despite sounding disarmingly like Puttin’ On The Ritz, Milk And Cookies is a cute ‘n creepy love song. Golden Sands is like a sleepy carnival on Planet Claire, Stream Runs Dry is an atmospheric lament, and Inner Space has the heartbeat of a guitar murmuring along until it has some serious palpitations at the end. You And Me In 3D! is a loveable song title and the song itself is very endearing, with Prebble moaning that he’s lost his heart and his sense of direction over a background of what sounds like rockets, comets, friendly aliens and star showers. Step Into The Light is a little Yusuf and a little cringe-inducing, but redeems itself with a dreamy and beautiful extended outro that really ought to go on three times longer than it does.
All this mad music is accompanied by an album cover that’s a little bit metal, a little psychedelic, and deserves to be appreciated in vinyl-sized format. The View is dubby, it’s quirky, it’s sleepy, it’s spacey. But there’s enough personality and humour here to encourage detractors of the Wellington sound to tap their toes.
Kathryn van Beek
Click here to listen to Mutant Musings from The View: