There's a moment, early in 'Beneath Fields' where Heron Oblivion teases the listener with a hint of an impending maelstrom. For the first two minutes the track has been locked in a slow, almost meandering groove of quiet reverberated guitar melodies and steady, solid percussion. Amidst this, Meg Baird's hushed voice has brought a pastoral calmness, conjuring an image of "green fields" and countryside scenes not unlike the one depicted on the album's sleeve. Yet there's an underlying tension, one that belies itself in the wah-inflected second guitar that rings out above all the other players, sustaining the discordant feedback a moment too long. The players cycle round again and again. The melodies are hypnotic - yet we already know the circle will not hold. The deep kick of the percussion and that second guitar test the boundaries, waiting to break through.

Finally in the chorus something gives, the guitars break free bringing in waves of amplifier feedback and for a moment the melody soars. The tension between the calm, cyclical nature of the verses and the eruptive instrumentals breathes life into 'Beneath Fields'. When Meg Baird sings, "come what may" she may as well be talking about the structure of the song itself. Heron Oblivion seem to plug into some higher consciousness, allowing the song to take them where it needs to. When the players break out of the cycle a second time, the guitars of Noel V. Harmonson and Charlie Saufley don't so much soar, as go stratospheric. Fuzzy psych-rock riffs barrel over each other, the wah and distortion converging into a satisfying drone.

Heron Oblivion feels organic in its structure, its progressions, its sonic textures because of the way it came together, and it's what sets the album apart from its peers and influences. Lead singer and drummer Meg Baird's roots may be in folk (having fronted Espers) but she's also performed as percussionist for post-hardcore outfit Watery Love. Harmonson, Saufley and bassist Ethan Miller, meanwhile, have played in a variety of hard-rock and psych-pop bands. All four having all played with one another in different forms, the band itself formed as if by chance. Miller and Harmonson were jamming together under the name Wicked Mace, with Saufley and Baird dropping in on a weekly basis. Somewhere along the way Heron Oblivion formed, the band's improvisational genesis leaving an indelible mark on the band's sound.

On Heron Oblivion's lengthier tracks, the band set a tempo and groove and then proceed to play around with the melody and composition in small, subtle ways. Take for instance 'Seventeen Landscapes', where Baird and Miller set up an ominous rhythm section for Harmonson and Saufley's guitars to wander above. The two guitarists, alternating between rhythm and lead, mutate cyclical riffs into crooning solos and rise from soft chords into overdriven exultations. As one of the albums slower, more methodical numbers there's a brooding menace to the track as it weaves a terse interplay between the instrumentation and Baird's whispered vocals. "Never thought that I'd be here talking to you / just had these words for emergency," Baird states at one point, hinting at a dark, possibly horrific undercurrent to the band's psych-rock.

'Rama', the album's ten-minute centrepiece almost stands as a counterpoint to 'Seventeen Landscapes'. The verse's combination of bright, clean guitar chords and reverb-heavy wah-guitar bring the same sense of calm as the album's opener, but combined with the euphoric chorus, seems to extol the intoxicating, head-rush of 60s hippiedom. Again, the guitars are allowed to amble through the verses, with what seems like a hundred beautiful melodies committed to a single song. 'Rama' sees the band let their freak flag fly, with harmonious Fairport Convention-style vocals and an electrifying solo that seems to have been lifted from a Crazy Horse record. The boldest moment comes not when the band unleash fuzzed-up sonics, but when, two-thirds of the way through the song the band fade out to leave just Baird's hypnotic drumming. It's another tease, a rug-pull to make you think the track's over when really they're just letting you take a breather before a second wave of screaming guitars comes crashing down from on high.

And therein lies the joy of Heron Oblivion's debut album. It's quite simply a thrilling, white-knuckle ride of a record. Its quieter moments are really just momentary respite from a soaring squall of sonic psychedelics. Born out of a jam band, Heron Oblivion feels like a record created live and it seems to not only occupy physical space, but create it as well. As the album draws to a close on 'Your Hollows', Baird's voice ascends in a single, held vowel that as I listened seemed to transform whatever room I was in into a majestic hall. Such was the effect of the reverb that seemed to sustain that note for longer than humanly possible. The album ends with sound breaking down, the drums falling off rhythm, the guitars descending into feedback, the album fading away leaving just a ringing in your ears.