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September 27th, 2007

The Isthmus

The six-piece Baghdad Scuba Review make no bones about their displeasure with George W. Bush on Testing the Waters. He gets a thorough pummeling in both the progressive jam "GWIII" and the jazz-inflected groove "Ol' Orleans." The latter tune even imagines W. joyriding around his Texas ranch in a CO2-belching SUV while post-Katrina New Orleans slowly twists in the wind.

No doubt the pointed political beat-downs will elicit nods of approval in left-of-center college towns like Madison, but the fact is BSR aren't just about sticking it to the man. They have real chemistry, and at their best they move well beyond their Deadhead sources. That's never more evident than on the cyclical, ever-climaxing instrumental "Out @ 11," a trippy slice of neo-jam effusion that brings Allman-style double guitar leads together with woozy synth filigree and pulsing trance-rock beats. The extended track doesn't go on forever here, but it certainly could. Hey, if the drugs were right, I'm sure no one would complain.