Upsilon Acrux – Galapagos Momentum

Upsilon Acrux
Galapagos Momentum

I’ve read the name Upsilon Acrux in magazines for several years now and often wondered how the group sounded. Now that my question has been answered, I’m left with the duty of informing you, the DOA reader, of whether or not I think you should waste your time on it. I guess the answer to that question depends on if you bust a nut over complex time signatures, noodly guitar lines, and the acute ability to execute flawless guitar pyrotechnics. If you’re the type of person that’s into Don Caballero’s older material, it’s something in which you might be interested. If you have all of the Hella and Ruins records and you feel like you just have to have even more stuff of that nature, in all likelihood Galapagos Momentum is right up your alley.

I don’t think individual tracks are particularly of note in reference to Upsilon Acrux. The music sounds fairly similar from track to track, unlike a group such as Don Caballero which established such a singular and distinct approach to this kind of music on What Burns Never Returns and American Don. Having songs with names like “Touched by God (Inappropriately)” and “Intimate Barbarian” may be funny but serve only as a minor distraction to mundane music. The drums lack the needed backbone to drive the intricacies of the guitar work, and the noodly guitar comes off as somewhat wimpy where it should be snarled. These are things that at least Hella or Ruins get right, regardless of my personal indifference to their music.

The best that can be said here is that the most interesting parts sound like 1980’s King Crimson records such as Beat and Discipline. Call me an asshole, but I prefer the stuff from In the Court of the Crimson King up through Red because it seems less gaudy, given that we are still talking about prog-rock. At least the band isn’t doing the loud-soft-loud “crescendo rock” that has become so prevalent in instrumental groups that it is no longer the slightest bit effective. But when the best thing you can say about an instrumental group is that they don’t follow a specific formula, it doesn’t attest to their ability to do much else. I get what they’re driving at as musicians, I just wish it came off properly on record.