A commonly used word or phrase isn't always the best choice when seeking a name for your band. Chances are it's already been used - or worse yet - presently in use.
For instance there are 27 metal bands with the name Armageddon - or some variation of the spelling. So you can imagine the confusion that might lead to. Which is why most musicians who conjure up a uniquely original name register it post haste.
Brainstorm is another such word. And although it may not match Armageddon's totals, the name Brainstorm was not only used by a legendary 70s' Detroit Funk band, but it is currently being used by at least eight performing bands which include: a power metal band from Germany, a rock band from Latvia, an experimental pop band from Oregon (United States), a jazz rock band from Germany, as an alias for electronic musician Moby, a doom metal band from Ukraine, a rapper from Washington (United States), a hardcore band from Salt Lake City (United States), a death metal band from Bulgaria, and a punk band from Belgrade, Serbia; as well as the Australian progressive/psych band I'll be reviewing today.
Australia's Brainstorm was originally formed back in 1988 (so they may be able to lay claim to the name since the German band wasn't established until a year later in 1989) and since their inception have produced five studio albums: "Brainstorm", Brainstorm Two Earth Zero", "Tales Of The Future", "Desert World" and the 2012 release "Planetfall".
The band proudly defines their style as 'Middle Class Space Rock For The 21st Century' but there is just as much of the past in their compositions as anything the future might offer. It's an amalgamation of the counter-culture 60s' psychedelia of groups like Vanilla Fudge, 13th Floor Elevators and Iron Butterfly; the San Francisco psych/folk of groups like Jefferson Airplane, The Byrd's, The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band; early 70s' era US progressive rock groups like Pentwater, Atlantic Philharmonic and Easter Island; Canadian group Spirit Of Christmas; Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett; and Germany's Amon Duul II; and a touch of Canterbury, Hawkwind and 21st Century technology blended into a unique musical concoction.
The musical styling run the gambit from avant-psychedelic folk to spacey electronics (reminiscent of the group Astralasia on the euphoric trance tune "Green Zone"), to unexpected melodic moments like the Celtic rock ballad "Forest Reason". Musically, "Forest Reason" might have fit quite comfortably on King Crimson alumni, Pete Senfield's album "Still".
On the flip side of the tranquil "Forest Reason" is the harder-edged tune "Intelligent Design" which bring to mind the New York Celtic rock band Black 47 or the popular Irish punk band The Pogues.
The beautiful vocal harmonies on "Planetfall" are reminiscent of The Byrd's or Crosby, Stills & Nash, adding more credence to my 60s' San Francisco references.
The current line-up consists of Steve Bechervaise (keyboards, guitars, vocals), Craig Carter (guitar, vocals), Vittorio Di Iorio (drums, keyboards), Paul Foley (guitar, flute, vocals), and Jeff Powerlett (bass, vocals).
Although the band hails from Australia the vocals have a distinct 60s' San Francisco feel, reviving the spirit of Bill Graham's Filmore West and the Summer Of Love.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on July 21st, 2012