LEVITATION ROOM: ETHOS

February 12th, 2016 | Album reviews

Levitation Room
Ethos
Burger Records

When one is woozy, you look for an anchor in the sand or a leg to stand on. And when you’re trying to solve a puzzle, you look for patterns. Hieroglyphics emerging from the deep sea felt like a series of faint blips on the sonar. Such is this writer’s experience with Highland Park outfit Levitation Room’s full length debut out on Burger Records. The record wobbles from surf instrumental interludes to acid test blowouts to shoegaze-y pop gems. When the band digs its Chelsea boots deep into the soft loam of influences like Brian Jonestown Massacre on swirling, mercury-heavy tracks like “Cosmic Flower” and “Loved,” they enact a ritual that appeals to every garage rock lovin’ dude out there but ultimately feels hollow. VU-style leads and rhythmic but meaningless lyrics snarled from an upturned lip sound satisfying on first pass, but like a bag of Halloween candy, merely leave the listener with a stomach ache of covetous regret. But by the time side two rolls around, the band loses the shackles of trying to prove themselves and just gets down to the good stuff—the stuff that keeps the listener satiated, the bowl of lip-smacking, succulent fruit that never seems to have a bottom. “Standing In The Rain” announces that this a band that knows its way around a goddamn great pop tune. With a shimmering guitar lead reminiscent of Aztec Camera and Sonic Flower Grove-era Primal Scream, the song—despite its refrain of “standing in the rain where the sun don’t shine”—delivers a parting of the clouds. The record’s penultimate tune, “Til You Reach Your Last Breath” is the best of the batch: a sultry brunette of a song with just the right amount of psychedelic menace, but more importantly it’s uilt around the strongest lyric on the album. “Well my daddy once said to me / embrace this life with humility / don’t be conditioned by society.” I would urge Levitation Room to do just that: be less concerned with the burden of credibility, and embrace the much more romantic and rewarding act of emotional appeal.

—Kegan Pierce Simons