US Christmas - Run Thick In The Night
Neurot Recordings
Psychedelic Rock
13 songs (1:16:38)
Release year: 2010
Neurot Recordings
Reviewed by Goat

The follow-up to 2008’s Eat The Low Dogs, US Christmas’ new full-length Run Thick In The Night is a loooong album, thirteen tracks coming in at over seventy minutes, and given that I only scored ETLD 70, I did wonder whether perhaps it wouldn’t be more sensible to pass this on to a fellow reviewer. However, given how much I enjoyed the band’s contributions to the split Hawkwind tribute of earlier this year, I decided to give it another go. And I’m glad I did! Run Thick In The Night is a spectacular album, one of those that hits a mood perfectly when you’re feeling particularly lethargic, not up for constant solos or uber-technical drum battering, just wave upon wave of heavy sound and meandering atmospheric delight. Opening thirteen-minute stormer In The Night slowly burns any resistance down, building up grumpily to a group-sung chant of misery over slow sludgy riffs, classic rock meandering and hypnotic synths weaving psychedelic patterns in your mind’s eye, and the album really just carries on from there.

Yet it’s not all ponderous – the following Wolf On, Anareta is more upbeat and aggressive, closer to Hawkwind’s rock-out-ier type of song. In general, the focus is on melancholy rather than rock out, but the variety actually surprised me, given how samey the genre can be. The likes of Fire Is Sleeping are closer to Alt-Country than the usual Neurosis-influenced Post-Metal fare – the band seem much better than last time at keeping the listener’s attention. The usage of synths throughout is particularly excellent, really coming into their own as spice for the almost spaghetti western-style melodies of Fonte Fiora. They’re not overused, though – the soft acoustic strum and male-female folksiness of Ephraim In The Stars is quite enough to seize you without over-the-top keyboards sliding everywhere.

Picking favourite moments is hard, but the sudden move towards rhythmic atmospheric oddness in The Quena was a nice touch. It’s not perfect, by any means – US Christmas make music for a lazy afternoon rather than something genuinely groundshaking, music that just flows over and around you – but the likes of Deep Green are perfect pieces of atmospheric music, ideal for a film soundtrack, backing music for reading, for whenever you want background noise with a bit of heaviness but nothing too complex. In general, I prefer the bands of this sort that stick closer to the NeurIsis benchmark, but as updaters and reinvigorators of the Hawkwind sound, US Christmas take some beating.

Killing Songs :
In The Night, Fonte Fiora, Ephraim In The Stars, The Quena, Deep Green
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by US Christmas that we have reviewed:
US Christmas - Eat The Low Dogs reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
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