Quintron and Miss Pussycat have never been known as a vocal group, but Spellcaster II: Death in Space takes that to a new level, waiting until the fourth song, “Do the Raid” for the first vocal utterings. That’s not a bad thing, but it is a slow start to the duo’s new record. In fact, it’s not until the third song, “Carnival,” that the album really feels like it starts at all.
“Carnival” is an odd track, in that it’s music befitting of its title. It sounds traditional, but with a Quintron twist. This might sound like an absurd comparison (probably just because I want to make the namedrop), but it reminds me of Herb Alpert in how it stays true to a familiar thematic concept while the performer gives it their own, undeniably unique stamp. It’s with track four, “Do the Raid,” though that the record really starts to sound like Quintron and Miss Pussycat as they have sounded in the past, with chant-shout dual vocals and a rhythmic, scratchy dance beat. It’s festive and psychedelic, noisy and a touch epileptic. The organ is the prominent force, as in “Steve,” bouncing the main lines of the songs in legato while Quintron, Pussycat, and guest vocalists Peaches and Vice Cooler chant the lyrics.
The record mixes it up with experimental noise tracks, like “Wonder Mt.,” “Death in Space,” and “Something’s Wrong with Jim.” Most of these are minimal and etchy and don’t really gain much distinction, feeling like atmospheric filler between the most upbeat, traditional structure songs. The reason: that’s what they are. Much of the album is to appear in the soundtrack to a film called Mirza the Miraculous and, knowing that, it changes the complexion of the LP a bit. As a standalone record, this delivers strong, traditional-styled Quintron cuts that are party-toned, energetic, and fun, but the instrumental blips and beeps tend to draw that energy out and lull it. It doesn’t outright kill it—so there’s an achievement there—but it also feels more like an interruption. In many ways,Spellcaster II feels like an EP combined with a soundtrack, and that’s generally not a winning formula. I’d rather have two EPs.
6.8 / 10
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