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The Soundtrack of Our Lives: Communion (Album Review)

With the twisty “Are You Experienced?” guitars and relentless, rumbling drumbeat driving the slow build of “Babel On,” the Soundtrack of Our Lives kicks off “Communion” the way a 90-minute double CD needs to be kicked off: not giving too much away but still announcing that the band’s got expansive ideas. The official line is that “Communion” is a concept album covering each hour of the day, but that would require scrutiny so intense that listeners would effectively have to trick themselves into believing it. (Maybe that’s why the artwork resembles corporate/cult propaganda.) It’s more a journey through the many modes of pop psychedelia, from the intense raveup “Mensa’s Marauders” to the pastoral instrumental “Digitarian Riverbank,” with a Love jones throughout (including an ebullient cover of Nick Drake’s “Fly” played as though it were “She Comes in Colors”). The sheer heft of “Communion” makes it hard to absorb the songs individually while discouraging the casual spins necessary to embed them in your skull. But almost every song sounds terrific in the moment. (Out tomorrow) – MARC HIRSH