Intronaut – Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones) [Review]Sludgy prog is what Intronaut excel at. “Habitual Levitations” is the L.A. band’s fourth full-length outing of mathrock-inspired complexity imbued with stoner rock vibes.

Amid the warm fuzzy stoner-bliss, drummer Danny Walker’s playing is never less than intense, laying a convoluted lattice-work of rhythmic patterns around which bass and guitar pirouette. Vocals are mixed low so as to add colour to the sonic palette without detracting from the mesmerising ensemble playing. In places the mix is reminiscent of shoegaze metallers Alcest.

Heavy downtuned riffs merge seamlessly with chilled-out sections to form a kaleidoscopic mesh. ‘Milk Leg’ is perhaps the best exemplar of this with its Mastodon riffing eventually settling into an extended jam, bassist Joe Lester snaking jazz runs around a comparatively static web of reverbed and arpeggiated guitar. ‘Eventual’ cheekily borrows the intro to ‘Children of the Grave’ but just at the payoff it transforms into what sounds like a Battles pastiche, full of groove and swing.

It is the rhythm section of Intronaut which impresses most. Fans of wonky time signatures will enjoy trying to ‘find the 1’ in Lester and Walker’s elusive patterns – just when you find it and settle into a nodding dog impression they’re off on another journey and you’re left chasing after, tail between your legs and feeling a bit lost. This can be frustrating on the virgin listen but bodes well for the album’s longevity – there’s plenty of discovery to revel in on what is a very solid and inventive album.

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