Relaxer • Unreal/Cities LP

Unreal/Cities is the new album by Akron, Ohio-based “passive progressive” rockers Relaxer. Recorded in one week during the Summer of 2016 by engineer Ben Vehorn (Strand of Oaks), Unreal/Cities finds the band turning up and branching out with a seven song set of heavy psych rippers that expands upon the foundation laid on 2014’s Lasers, adding even heavier riffs, more intricate arrangements, and the occasional conga overdub.

Opener “The Marksman” hits the target right away as heavily effected guitars and synthesizers (courtesy of contributor Steve Clements [Six Parts Seven, Royal Bangs]) howl atop a blown-out riff before the band drops the hammer on a swaggering riff met with Scott’s airy vocals.

With its bludgeoning tritone guitar line, “Crystal Garden” finds Relaxer at their most concise, striking a delicate balance between bouncy indie rock, progressive instrumental flourishes, and punishing stoner rock.

Album closer “Window/Path” has it all: an odd-metered progressive boogie riff to rival Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein,” shouted vocals reminiscent of a fire breathing Jim James (My Morning Jacket), thoughtful piano overdubs, heavily processed background vocals, and a coda with a fadeout like the sun setting between the smokestacks and industrial remnants of the band’s Northeast Ohio home. Unreal/Cities, indeed.

Unreal/Cities is out Friday, October 13, 2017 on EarthQuaker Devices Records.