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No strangers to the progression of psychedelia, Asteroid #4 have been channeling the cosmos for over 15 years, operating out of Northern California and building a cult fan base through their steady releases and now substantial anthology.

Their image appears to be quite anachronistic, paying homage to groundbreaking psychedelic minimalists Spaceman 3, which references Vespa as the brightest asteroid in our solar system. Their calligraphy screams The Chocolate Watchband in a smoke filled room, and their sound sits somewhere in the wide-open spaces that categorise early '70s British space rockers like Hawkwind, complemented by a measure of English folk and powered by classic Americana.

With a change to Bad Vibrations Records and a self-titled release, Asteroid #4 appear to be taking the leap of defining themselves even further.

The album in question carries with it a certain global attitude. Beginning with 'The River', acoustic and reverb-drenched vocals cry about "The River of Life", which carries with it a head-swaying motion and sporadic background electric licks and backwards guitar tracks. 'Rukma Vimana' references an Indian Sanskrit literary work written about space ships and puts the album into a higher gear. Shimmering grunge and psychedelic hooks contrast their more rhythmic side, but still sit inside the same mantra.

'Ghosts of Dos Erres' and 'Mount Meru' immediately warrant a searching of reference. Cosmic, more distant concepts are swapped for real world history - a corrupt government initiated massacre in the town of Dos Erres, Guatemala in 1982; a stratovolcano in Tanzania, making it the 10th largest mountain in the world. Both songs omit a softer temperament, Mount Meru containing spoken word and led almost entirely by sitar.

'The Windmill of the Autumn Sky' reveals the group's folk ballad tendencies, building swaying acoustic numbers drenched in harmonised vocal arrangements. They share this territory with more strictly folk groups like the Stillwater based Other Lives, but have the pleasure of being able to branch out. 'Ropeless Free Climber' is the album's summit, and it possesses a certain genuineness that appears to be quite distant on other tracks. Natural elements like the mountains, sun, stars, ivy walls and waterfalls - they all play the role of being a comparison to a more reflective discourse. They weave an adventurous tale of attaining freedom, singing all the while, "Suddenly it occurs to me/I'll never, ever be the same/But it's alright/I don't wanna be.

Asteroid #4 have the tendency to create quite large songs, whether in their arrangement or intent. This is an appealing attribute, as a band's innovativeness can be showcased, and their space opens up. The closing third loses me slightly, with 'Revolution Prevail' set to a motorik beat and standard delayed echo that stands on a more political platform, but they've managed to cover a great deal of ground (sonically) across the album, making us feel like we may have traveled somewhere else to hear it.

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