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Church of Hed: The Father Road

Church of Hed is the brainchild of American multi-instrumentalist Paul Williams, also known as drummer and driving force for psychedelic and space rock band Quarkspace. The Father Road is the seventh studio album of his solo project COH where his focus is on progressive Berlin School oriented electronic music, a place where he plays and programs everything, from keyboards and synthesizers to electronic drums and loops. As per the artist’s own words, the album takes the listener on a surreal aural journey across the U.S. along the Lincoln Hwy, the first transcontinental road built for automobiles, and works as the sequel to his 2011 album Rivers of Asphalt, which in the same sort of way traveled the legendary Route 66.

I myself, haven’t had the opportunity of making that trip so I’m not familiar with the sceneries, the shapeshifting roads, the sensation that the traveler might feel when cruising the road by night or by day, the ascents and descents to and from the highest points, and the multiple surprises (good or bad) that the driver encounters on the voyage… but I do know that the only effect this album has on me, is that it gets me unequivocally sleepy. Don’t get me wrong, Paul is a great musician and very well knows how to create an ambience or atmosphere and add multiple layers of sound to it, but it seems he never got out of the one he created to start this album, and it sometimes feel like a never-ending loop of sameness and boredom. A couple of nice highlights need to be mention, like the promising opener “The Sea and Golden Gate”, the uplifting and melodic “Prairie Waves”, the pseudo-symphonic “Avoiding Tolls Roads at Night”, the beautiful psychedelic “A Ship in the Mountain” … which is my personal favorite… and the chaotic and smart album closer “Times Square and The Shining Sea”.

A difficult album for me to review and recommend, although I’m sure there must be a niche that will find this music very appealing, but it just doesn’t do it for me, is laid back beyond being laid back, and I often find myself lost when listening to the whole record continuously from top to bottom. Cheers.

Track list:
1. The Sea and Golden Gate (4:20)
2. Sierra Ascent, Pt. 1 (2:48)
3. Sierra Ascent, Pt. 2 (2:18)
4. Sierra Crest (3:49)
5. The Loneliest Highway (8:39)
6. Salt and Snow (2:37)
7. Wasatch Descent (2:16)
8. Under Wyoming Stars (5:11)
9. Prairie Waves (3:37)
10. The Derecho (3:38)
11. Open Road Illinois LH (2:44)
12. Plainfield Crossroads (3:38)
13. Avoiding Toll Roads at Night (3:01)
14. The Red Brick Road (5:01)
15. Flying Teapots over the Alleghenies (4:18)
16. A Ship in the Mountain (3:53)
17. The Many Souls of Byberry (4:49)
18. Approaching Gotham (2:24)
19. The Palisades (2:36)
20. Times Square and the Shining Sea (3:37)

Added: May 25th 2023
Reviewer: Jose Antonio Marmol
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1627
Language: english

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