While I remember digging BIG SCENIC NOWHERE’s initial two EPs, Dying On The Mountain and especially 2020’s more prog-tinged Lavender Blues, I’ll admit to letting 2020 debut LP Vision Beyond Horizon and The Long Morrow of the following year slip under my radar, always “intending to” go back and investigate what the foursome could do within the space of an album. I never did, though, so no better time than now to check in.

Opener and title track, ‘The Waydown’ doesn’t so much arrive as materialize before closed eyes and open ears, the vocal harmonies and flowing, yet purposeful momentum recalling a slightly sloppy KING’S X, and I say that as a compliment. Sensuous synthesizers evoke STARCASTLE, but in the latter 3-odd minutes, when the Balch/Arce guitars begin to riff their way to the end, it’s…imagine conjoined twins…it’s that symbiotic.

‘Surf Western’ lives up to its name in guitar tone, surely, FARFLUNG a reference, and I’ll be dang if BSN hasn’t become even more hazed, more psychedelic in the years I’ve been away, immersive and enveloping in subdued grandeur – and yes, there is such a thing. The latter half falters a bit in the guitar-heavy moments, seeming as if they were maybe tossed-in ideas from another song that felt like they might fit. In all, though, I’m not skipping this one when listening again, so what I hear now as a stumble may simply be a step in an unexpected direction.

David Gilmour-ish blues progressions usher in ‘Sara Smile’, Bill Stinson’s jazzy rhythms joining Eliot Lewis’ (HALL AND OATES) keys and Tony Reed’s surprisingly sultry delivery to give birth to a tune that could’ve shown up in the catalog of early/mid-‘70s Motown without blinking an eye, or (with a bit of reworking) even Stax Records.

‘100’ completes our mind-trek, almost calls to mind latter-day MARK LANEGAN (think Here Comes That Weird Chill) in the world-worn delivery of Reed, the keyboards of Per Wiberg (ex-OPETH) and guitar loop alchemy of Reeves Gabrels (THE CURE, etc.) vining around and over the band, sinewed and serpentine as ivy.

It’s my own damned fault, you know? I could’ve grabbed up the two previous full-lengths when they first came out, and doubtless would’ve enjoyed them. But I also believe that bands, that albums also have a way of showing up for the first time – or in this case, returning – exactly when they should. Join BIG SCENIC NOWHERE and I on The Waydown
Review By: Lord Randall

The Waydown
Heavy Psych Sounds