RIYL: Rundgren, Lynne (ELO), Caravan, Camel, Yes, Steely Dan, Queen, Beach Boys, King Crimson,

Label: Castle Face Records

If you’ve had the pleasure of getting to know last year’s S/T debut- album by Oakland’s very own Once & Future Band, the odds tell me that it’s among your top 5 albums of 2017!  Since Castle Face Records launched the critically acclaimed LP they’ve had one exciting year indeed and had a good deal of well deserved attention. If you haven’t picked it up yet, oh man. Just do it. Do it! It’s just that good, it really is..

Castle Face has now gone and reissued their EP from 2014, and there’s a sweet limited Tri-Colored edition available for us to snag.

Here’s my thoughts on Brain back in 2014 :

This is definitely one of my favourite bands these days. The 3-piece Oakland CA-based Once & Future Band has quite the variety of inspirations, and it’s nearly impossible to stick them to a certain genre. There’s certainly a 70’s psych/prog/fusion-vibe when these guys fire up their engine, but there’s so much more intertwined in here. Yes, Crimson, Rundgren, Baccarach, Zappa, Steely Dan…there’s hints of a lot of greatness baked into this EP. The trio of Joel Robinow (keyboards/guitar/vocals), Raj Ojha (drums) and Eli Eckert (bass/guitar/vocals) have been partners in crime for many years, and shared duties in Drunk Horse, Howlin’ Rain, East Bay Grease among many others. They’re also functioning as the backing band for the extremely musically gifted Danny James who also came up with the bands name.

There’s an instant certain familiar feeling surrounding these 4 tunes (clocking in at aprx 24 minutes), which gives any musically experienced listener a warm feel of reminiscense, but they definitely manage to take total control of their compositions. The arrangements on “Brain” are quite exquisite throughout, and there’s enough complex, tasty artistery in here to ensure that you’ll find new hooks and details with every listen. The outcome on this EP is a really grand effort, deeply personal and heartfelt. This is one that will stick with you and grow with each and every listen.  Highly recommended!

The Details

2017’s “Once & Future Band” landed upon our brains like the birth of a starchild - fully formed, otherworldly, yet comfortingly familiar in its contours…Floyd, ELO, Queen, Steely Dan, and Beach Boys rearranged into an unapologetically poignant pop moment, underpinned by 4 guys that could play their way out of a Faustian bargain. While we await whatever warlock’s potion they are brewing up next, they’ve pulled a maxi-EP Brain from the vaults for a moment in the sun. All of the mastery you’ve come to expect is at play here; enough chops to make a vegetarian’s mouth sweat, songs that tug at the heart while they play tricks on your mind, and with the steady hand of a of studio wizard sprinkling stardust around the edges just so. It’s out on Castle Face Records March 9th.

Price $16

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