Particle’s debut album, Launchpad,
has an appropriate title because the first track blasts off into a wild, funkadelic, electronic jam. In fact, the entire album is a danceable, sonic assault that sounds bigger than the four men playing. The band is made up of talented musicians who have taken their many musical influences and created a very interesting piece of work. They splice together so many genres that the energy created opens a vortex into a parallel dimension where we hear the music that would have been created if George Clinton and ELP had joined forces.
The elements that really drive the songs are Steve Molitz’s keyboards and Charlie Hitchcock’s guitar work. They have the freedom to take the solos wherever they want because of the outstanding rhythm foundations laid down by Eric Gould on bass and Darren Pujaleti on drums.
About halfway through, “Below Radar” gives us a welcome breather. It’s got a nice slow, mellow groove allowing us to recharge before the band takes off again. “7 Minutes Til Radio Darkness (Part I)” is a very trippy, head piece that salutes their progressive rock influences. The album closer “Sun Mar 11” is perfect in its placement because it’s a nice fade-out after all the aural pyrotechnics. You might be worn out when it’s all over, but the ride is worth it
The one fault is that the songs do sound a little similar with the only distinction one notices on the first listen is the changes in tempo. Even though there’s 10 songs on the album, if you aren’t paying attention, Launchpad almost blurs into one 60-minute piece. There are no lyrics that would help the listener identify what was going on. The music is very rich and dense, so you hear more with repeated plays, but if you didn’t like it the first time through, that won’t help.
It is great music for driving through long open stretches of the countryside, yet at the same time is also great coming out of a set of headphones. It just depends on what kind of trip you are taking.