Effi Briest is music made for autumn, hollow gray and orange, when the leaves are on fire and falling and darkness rumbles at you like a train. They’re not the Sugarcubes, not exactly, but it’s easy to imagine them in a similar space: a tumble of toms, a backwards run of squeals and hazed-out guitars, Kelsey Barrett’s vocals blowing around leaf-like from whisper to squeal. Not a breeze, but wind.
They’re also not strictly krautrock, or post-punk, or even all that goth, though they tiptoe ’round those worlds too. This six-piece Brooklyn collective—yes, collective; see: Amon Duul—has character that reminds but doesn’t define; it’d be disingenuous to even try for a single comparison. Psychedelic but seriously angular. Darkly propulsive (especially “Mirror Rim”) but with a bass-and-tom focus just as much Siouxsie’s “Into The Light” as Can’s “You Doo Right”. And even then, it meanders beyond; Rhizomes is cohesive enough to suggest a concept album or psych opera. The songs stand up on their own, sure—but god damn, they’re amazing huddled together.
And maybe they’re too similar, too expansive—the track flipped more than once without my realizing it—but Rhizomes seems to sneer at any break in mood. If you’re in it, you’re in it for the long haul, you’re seeing this midnight acid trip straight through the finish. It may be too same-sounding for some, but that sound is so worth repeating: heavy and autumnal, eerie and exuberant—an endless October amped up for Halloween. Listen to this immediately.