rand and sweeping are two adjectives frequently applied to Yume Bitsu’s previous material. Pretentious and boring are also two adjectives that can be justifiably used in talking about the band, as well. The adjectives praising the band are no accident. As with any band that employs songs reaching far over the ten minute mark, large amounts of effects on guitars, and a cinematic scope to their sound; Yume Bitsu embody these adjectives admirably. Unfortunately, the effect of these elements also play directly into the criticisms made of the band. A large back story into how the band was made (involving some sort of magic), songs that reach well over the ten minute mark, and a cinematic scope to the band’s sound- it all adds up to boring and pretentious.
And on The Golden Vessyl of Sound many of these same criticisms of Yume Bitsu’s back catalog can be levied and substantiated. Fortunately, many of the same praise-worthy adjectives can be employed, as well.
The first track on the album (all of them are unnamed) is an eight minute journey into the eye of the storm. The song builds and builds in intensity until a long, drawn out guitar solo is brought into the mix near the halfway point. The tension is let out and the song grooves along to a satisfying end. For better or worse, the song sounds as though it would not be out of place on either the recent Auspicious Winds or the self titled album by the band. The only difference, perhaps, is the inclusion of a trumpeter and a newly found attention to sonic detail (perhaps due to more studio time?). Beneath the various guitar lines that make the backdrop of the song, a simple sound effect buzzes merrily along to the tone of the piece, adding another distinct layer to the proceedings. The other happy surprise of this particular record is the attention paid to the vocals of Adam Forkner. The vocals, as opposed to the aforementioned records, are clearer and beautifully harmonized on multiple tracks. Adding these to the expert instrumental backing of the band and a fuller, clearer Yume Bitsu sound is present.
Despite all of these nice additions to the sound, there are some missteps on the record. Track six uses a lot of useless improvisation until it coalesces near the end into a nice, if one dimensional, tune. The song is a nice one, but the fact that it takes sixteen minutes for it be brought together into the eventual final form may turn some listeners off. It is interesting to hear the band hedge around the main idea of the song for a long while, but it begins to take its toll after a while, especially since there seems to be only one idea that they are making their way towards.
The final track is of particular interest to fans, as it marks the first time that the band has employed a drum machine in their music. The drum machine is set at the beginning of the piece and is allowed to run wild throughout its eight minute length. It is obvious that subtle changes are made throughout, but the single-mindedness of the beat becomes numbing, at a certain point, and the effect of a human beating the drums in the same way may be been more powerful. That being said, the first half of the song contains some of the finest vocals that the group has put to record. At times, it sounds like a 21st century Beach Boys track.
As with most records, if you don’t like the style of music being played you will probably not enjoy this record. The songs, for the most part, require a good degree of concentration to fully enjoy and appreciate. For those interested in hearing a possible direction of Pink Floyd after Meddle, however, this may be your favorite record of 2002.