There's rarely a moment while listening to Danava that you don't compare the Portland-via-Illinois four-piece to approximately 1000 other acts. Three minutes into opener "By the Mark," you swear you're listening to Bowie's Hunky Dory; another few minutes, and you're absolutely sure that you're high off your ass on Kraftwerk. Yeah, Danava is a confusing experience, but an altogether heavy space trip. Thin, fuzzed-out guitars dance with twin leads and progressive phrasing, while Dell Blackwell's bass manages to hold its own (though without a destructive low-end) with an occasional Geezer Butler flourish. The space rock keyboards ride underneath and coat the five songs in a slippery-cool kind of '70s muck, which makes up for the record's occasionally thin sound. Dusty Sparkles' whiny vocals sit on top and won't ever avoid a Geddy Lee reference. But you know what? Who cares about the comparisons from Bowie and Rush to King Crimson and Hawkwind, etc. we could do it all day. Danava makes it work. Besides, they've got the balls to slot a 13-minute song second in the track listing.
Kent Alexander writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to email@example.com.