Neon Burton comes to us from Cologne, Germany, bringing psychedelic stoner rock jams with an outer space theme on their newest album, Take A Ride, released on May 1st, 2023.
About Take A Ride
Take A Ride is described on their Bandcamp Page as an “expedition into the depths of outer space and those of the mind.” After listening to the record, I’d agree with their summation, as the music and lyrics can move listeners in a positive direction while also taking them on a journey. This is the third full album from the band and was recorded and mixed by Henning (guitar/vocals), who also played all of the instruments.
Mother Ship, the first track, is an instrumental trying to instill the space theme in the listener’s mind. The intro features pieces of a radio broadcast, space-psych guitar sounds, and an overwhelming sense of emptiness … like the vastness of space itself.
The song retains its spacey vibe when the music becomes the focus and couples it with a sound that will appeal to bands similar to King Buffalo. The stoner riffs we get are excellent, and the juxtaposition between the psych and the stoner makes them seem all the more powerful.
I love the next song, I Run, and its lyrical content, and I will tell you why. My interpretation is that this is about a coping method and that the subject in this track chooses running. Take the line …
“Losing all your energy
That you spend on minor worries
Breathe in, breathe out
Listen to subconscious stories
I choose to run.”
We are being challenged to find a way to cope with the noise in our heads, and for those who listen, this could benefit their lives and mental health. The musical aspect of the song varies from subtle psych sections to the heavier stoner-grunge found in the chorus sections. The emotions of the story’s character influenced the type of music we get during the verses and the chorus, one being more meditative and the other being the frantic need to cope by running. These are just my thoughts and don’t necessarily mean that this is where Henning was coming from while writing this track.
The title track, Take a Ride, begins in the psychedelic rock realm, but we also get touches of blues and stoner rock before the track ends. This is presented with a groove that changes as the music does, rising and falling to match the song. Even Henning’s vocals join in with the groove and supply a catchy melody.
“My advice to take a ride/Find the world inside yourself” is the final line of lyrics, succinctly summing up the point of the song. This is an idea that I connect with because you cannot know the world without knowing yourself, and getting to that knowledge is a journey of its own.
Orbit is the second of three instrumental tracks, and like Mother Ship, it is excellent. I think that Neon Burton is attempting to use these instrumentals as a cinematic tool, helping to further the story that the listener is writing in their mind as they listen to the music and read the lyrics. The mind is a powerful thing that can be activated by supplying the right stimuli. Music does that for me, and that’s what the band is going for here, giving us the soundtrack for the film in our mind’s eye.
Disconnect is another track with a relevant lyrical concept! This one is about being disconnected from reality and making your cell phone the only reality you want or need.
“Walking right into a street light or staring at your phone?
Crowdsurfing at a live show or staring at your phone?
Seeing your kids grow up or staring at your phone?
Conversations with strangers or staring at your phone?
My whole life is passing by, but I’m just staring at my phone”
This is a current and ongoing problem. Henning points out the idiocy of our obsession without making fun of anyone; instead, he merely points out the obvious drawbacks of living in your cell phone.
The music ranges from a bluesy-western-psych sound to the heavier riffage of the stoner scene, and the vocal performance is fantastic, as it is across the entire album.
Wormhole is the third instrumental and the final track. It’s 10 minutes of the same type of excellence that we’ve heard so far but adds a more eclectic approach overall. Make sure you stick around for all ten minutes, as this is a worthy addition to the album and ends things on a note that will make people want to return for the next album.
Take A Ride is a thought-provoking album with lyrical content that should inspire people to look past the surface and go deeper into who they are as people. The fact that this is delivered with excellent music makes things even better and helps drive the message home by making repeated listens necessary and wanted.
As I mentioned, the album was released on May 1st, so it’s available for you to hear right now. It’s available on their Bandcamp page, 666MrDoom’s YouTube page, and other assorted places! Enjoy!!
Support Neon Burton by finding them on Bandcamp, YouTube, or Facebook.
This review was written by Tom Hanno, who has been writing reviews for the last 7 years but has been sharing his love of music for the majority of his life. Originally starting out at the now-defunct Chimera Magazine, he is currently contributing to Doomed and Stoned, The Sleeping Shaman, The Doom Charts, Tom’s Reviews, and The Third Eye. Read more of Tom’s reviews by checking out his Linktree.
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