Jan-Simon : A very long time ago, all roads led to Rome. In today’s metal world, all roads still start at Black Sabbath. That has been so for almost 50 years, especially if you zoom in on stoner and doom.
Of course, roads split or come right back together and there is always a place in this imaginary road network where you can place a band. Take for instance the American band Space Coke. We find this recreational drugs obsessed foursome at the crossroads where the paths towards Electric Wizard and Butthole Surfers go a different route. The savvy music lover now knows that Space Coke injects its doom metal built on Tony Iommi's patented riffs with some unstructured psychedelic madness. Of course it helps that the voice of singer Reno Gooch is a bit like that of Gibby Haines. But at the same time, the guys of Space Coke are quite normal, compared with the Surfers. The mental health centre does not need to be called in.
Released shortly after their first two EP’s, EPs is ‘L’appel Du Vide’ is Space Coke’s first full album. ‘L’appel Du Vide’, French for the strange feeling some people have when standing on a bridge or a tower (“I could just jump now”) is very much like these EP’s, only better. So there are lots of fuzz drenched guitars, psychedelic effects and distortion and some covers that are not just laziness (why make something new when you can also copy) but serve as a way to position yourself in the rock universe. It tells a lot about one’s taste and inspiration when songs are covered from MC5, Pretty Things and The Master Apprentices. On the new album the band ups the ante even further by covering ‘Venus in Furs’ by Velvet Underground and Stevie Wonder’s ‘Evil’.
Stevie Wonder is without any doubt a surprise choice, but the combination of seventies soul, fuzz guitar and guest singer Deborah Adedokun works remarkably well. For the first cover we can only say that it is a huge gamble to put a classic like this between your own songs. Besides that ‘Venus In Furs’ is as unique as can be with the freeform scratching of John Cale’s electric viola and Lou Reed’s weirdly tuned Ostrich guitar – it is hard to ignore this while listening to the Space Coke version. The main issue is that the original is that much better. Should you have never ever heard of Velvet Underground, you may find this a great song, even if the SM and bondage inspired lyrics are sung rather flatly and appear a bit tame. Tame is about the last thing one can say about the other songs on the album. Dressed up with some quotes from vintage fifties horror films and lyrics that touch everything from Hindu mythology to Aleister Crowley and back again, Space Coke offers us eight tracks in just thirty five minutes. Songs that – as said before – are heavily inspired by Black Sabbath even though the sustained drone like chords make it sound a bit more modern. The drones and noise also make Space Coke sound a lot heavier than Black Sabbath ever was. Based on this short epistle Space Coke deserves to be released from the deepest underground in which it is now hiding.