Frying on this Rock

These space cadets from New York are all about propulsion on Frying on this Rock, White Hills’ third LP for the otherworldly Thrill Jockey label. Of course, they don’t shy away from a meandering psychedelic passage or three, either. In fact, over the past seven years White Hills has done a lot of that, leaving in their wake a purple haze of CDRs, 7-inches, EPs and a couple of long-players that are as much druggy fun as a felt black-light poster in a dim basement. Frying on this Rock captures the band live as the psychedelic squalor gets a bit of a makeover—more controlled chaos, less infinite space jams. Even on the 12-minute “Robot Stomp"—the album’s longest song—there’s purpose in the repeated riff. Over the course of five songs that span 45 minutes the band rips through peaks and valleys of distortion while scraps of electronic noise fill in the cracks. Opener “Pads of Light” cranks out the most heat, an explosive stoner-rock beast with a solo that’s just as fiery. Only “Song of Everything” treads into ‘60s psych parody with its goofy spoken-word breakdown. By the time that happens, you’re already on board.