Once And Future Band: Deleted Scenes
There’s a grand, epic scope to Oakland prog rock act Once And Future Band’s sophomore effort Deleted Scenes. From the British psych-pop sound of opener “Andromeda” to the instrumental closer “The End of the Beginning,” the album explores a vast array of genres and themes, yet remains cohesive, often thanks to singer and multi-instrumentalist Joel Robinow’s distinctive vocals and laser-like synth and keyboard work. Once And Future Band can jump from ambient and spacey sonics (“Automatic Air”) to psychedelic rock (“Problem Addict”) to progressive funk (the instrumental jam “Several Bullets in My Head”) and soulful British pop (“Freaks”) without skipping a beat. It’s easy to see how the band has built a cult followin and earned arena-level opening spots for Tool, as well as why Robinow and drummer Raj Kumar Ojha were tapped to join the latest touring iteration of The Black Crowes. As a lyricist, Robinow often approaches love as an outcast. “I’m just looking for someone to sing my songs to/ I’ll love her even though she’s strange/ and she won’t care that I’m insane,” he sings on “Andromeda.” He’s even more direct with “Automatic Air”: “I am a stranger to love/ I lie awake and look into the dark/ and wait for my movie to start.” The acoustic guitars and slowly swelling synths of “Airplane” recall early Pink Floyd but it’s just an appetizer for nine-minute album-closer “The End and the Beginning.” An instrumental with an orchestral flair, the prog epic builds to several distinct movements, serving as an apt coda to cap the grand sweep of Deleted Scenes.