The return of An Albatross (and The Lazer Viking) is gloriously loud, gloriously weird, and tightly locked-in
There have been few other bands quite like An Albatross in Philly — or, to be quite honest, anywhere else, either. The noise-rock collective numbers four to six members, depending on what era you saw them and who you saw them with, and burned bright in the early 00s with an intense, but undeniably fun blend of screamo energy, psychedelic atmospheres, and prog dexterity.
This month, the band — vocalist / frontperson Edward B. Gieda III, bassist Jason Hudak, drummer Steven Vaiani, guitarist Daniel Kishbaugh, and keys players Kat Paffett, Phil Price, and Bubba Ayoub — released their first music in a dozen years, the Return of the Lazer Viking EP, and it finds the band as riveting as ever.
Opening on the sounds of a ticking stopwatch and the carillon of a distant church belfry, a trippy tapestry of synth sounds circle and swirl until the opening title track erupts into blast beats and eviscerating screams by Gieda, raging against the frayed attention spans and ennui of living in an overcommodified hell in the 2020s. “Fidgeting on my phone / Tuned in to the din & drone” is a vivid lyric, as is “Cocaine hangovers & Taylor Swift. / Bourgeois callouses & tennis wrist.” Wild organ lines dance at the top, with the bass / guitar far underneath. The full-throttle energy goes even harder on “Mort Blue,” where punk / funk beats in a Gang of Four style mix with surfy organs and a frantic call to break free. Four minutes have passed, and the EP is already over.
The EP is dedicated to Amanda Medina, Gieda’s late wife who collaborated on lyrics to the title track in 2017. The band says the song “foreshadows today’s social upheaval and demand for justice and equality,” and is donating a portion of the proceeds to Black Lives Matter Philly.
For further reading and listening, check out a feature over at Brooklyn Vegan, where the band created a wildly eclectic playlist of artists that have influenced An Albatross over the years — The Beach Boys, Glenn Branca, The Boredoms and more. Additionally, Gieda appeared on the Radio Kismet-produced Running Times podcast to discuss how long-distance running and marathon training has helped him over the years: “Eddie Gieda started running years ago as a means to stay in shape as the frontman of the band An Albatross. But following the passing of his wife just over a year ago, the practice of running became something more.”
Listen to Return of the Lazer Viking below and grab a download at Bandcamp.