Nov 15, 2006 at 12:00 am

There's rarely a moment while listening to Danava that you don't compare the Portland-via-Illinois four-piece to approximately 1000 other acts. Three minutes into opener "By the Mark," you swear you're listening to Bowie's Hunky Dory; another few minutes, and you're absolutely sure that you're high off your ass on Kraftwerk. Yeah, Danava is a confusing experience, but an altogether heavy space trip. Thin, fuzzed-out guitars dance with twin leads and progressive phrasing, while Dell Blackwell's bass manages to hold its own (though without a destructive low-end) with an occasional Geezer Butler flourish. The space rock keyboards ride underneath and coat the five songs in a slippery-cool kind of '70s muck, which makes up for the record's occasionally thin sound. Dusty Sparkles' whiny vocals sit on top and won't ever avoid a Geddy Lee reference. But you know what? Who cares about the comparisons — from Bowie and Rush to King Crimson and Hawkwind, etc. — we could do it all day. Danava makes it work. Besides, they've got the balls to slot a 13-minute song second in the track listing.

Kent Alexander writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].