The New Body Electric rock alternatif – 40:46 – USA ‘21 Flashs, ombres et masques… Après leur premier disque en 2018: «Snow Queen» et un break incongru fin 2019, «Ryan et les Illusionautes» sont de retour pour nous libérer/délivrer leur second album, pochette façon «Willy le Borgne» des Goonies (mais pour adultes): «The New Body Electric». Et alors? Eh bien, laissez-moi vous tenir au courant: la recherche du mystère est toujours au rendez-vous, elle a même grignoté un peu (beaucoup) plus d’espace! Les initiés ne sont plus à convaincre, Illusionaut est un écho fébrile, un passage à l’ombre avant la lumière blanche de Saint-Pierre. À l’écoute de leurs dernières compos, cette fois plus encore, sans aller dire qu’ils ont mis les doigts dans la prise, la formation semble engager une lente descente après un sévère survoltage. Le chant est juste, précis mais bas perché et obsédant, tandis que les instruments, pour sûr classiquement bien rendus, donnent l’impression d’être joués depuis ailleurs et l’au-delà. Très certainement, l’effet est recherché et fera mouche auprès de ceux qui sont en quête de se perdre sur des points d’interrogation et de suspension… Bref chez «les aventuriers des décharges perdues» qui sont légion, à ne pas en douter! Je vais, de mon côté, laisser le chapeau et le fouet dans la naphtaline. Légèrement plus séduit par leur premier opus, mieux servi en basse, j’ai malgré tout apprécié la chevauchée de quelques-uns des plus tout à fait neuf morceaux: 1/ «Bella», «comme le jour» dirons-nous, ne manque pas de sel, avec sa sympathique croisade bass/guitare, 2/ «Let The Devil» nous laisse apprécier ses funèbres claviers, 3/ «We Never Sleep» nous fait la chasse, traversant inlassablement les remparts psychédéliques de nos sensations, avec flingues et cartouches kalaïdosquopiques. Tiens donc? C’est à la queue de l’album que nous ramassons les volts, la lumière et la grâce, ma foi, pourquoi pas? Toutefois, de mon point de vue, ces morceaux vous apprivoiseront sur la longueur, les intros n’étant jamais ces feux d’artifices électriques qu’on croyait attisés par le titre de l’album! Nous sommes derrière les flammes des chandeliers, les clairs-obscurs, les demi-teintes, à attendre qu’on vienne nous chercher; si plusieurs vont tendre leurs mains, je vais les laisser dans mes poches, l’âme vaguement intéressée mais en tous les cas (plus ou moins) moyennement excitée! Kaillus Gracchus Lien Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/4svlO8bBW4zYai6qJWAA8T… Lien YouTube: https://youtu.be/UXTDJGaY0rQ” - Kaillus Gracchus

Prog Censor

Stereo Stickman

Dreamy yet intense arena-rock pours through for the heavy and hypnotic sound of Illusionaut. Freshly released from the 2021 album The New Body Electric, We Never Sleep proves an enchanting progression of cascading guitars, crisp rhythms and reverb-drenched vocals, before the introduction of a heavy-metal descending riff and lighter contrasting vocal hook to completely redirect things. Ultimately at one with their own creative freedom, Illusionaut follow the pathway of expression based on each idea or feeling. As such, every song offers equal parts nostalgia and unpredictability. Through The Trees makes for a fine example of how versatile Illusionaut showcase themselves to be on this project. Here we get a classic indie rock song, emotive and delicate yet gritty on the musical side, something like shoegaze and Britpop skilfully intertwined – perhaps The Smiths or The Stone Roses with an edge of Arctic Monkeys for intensity. Once again, deeply poetic, alluring lyrics intrigue and provoke thought, and once more the chorus veers off unexpectedly; this time towards a darker, more haunting corner. Consider then the pace and subtle brightness of an aptly-titled Wake Up, towing the line between positivity and melancholy, with passionate vocals at a much higher end of the melodic spectrum for a truly eclectic switch of gears. This one undoubtedly serves its purpose and lives up to the implications of its name with precision and mood. All in all this album delivers a profound hit of escapism that’s all at once refreshing and deeply reminiscent of a simpler era. Illusionaut represent their name well, creating these audio illusions that provoke deeper consideration, resulting in a journey that’s likely to be unique for each listener. Hopefully there are plenty of live shows to follow. Check out Illusionaut via the Website.” - Rebecca Cullen

Stereo Stickman

Excess magazine

Illusionaut veröffentlichen mit ihrem zweiten Album The New Body Electric eine fantastische und durchschlagkräftige Produktion des extravaganten Space Rock. Bereits mit ihrem Debütalbum Snow Queen konnte die us-amerikanische Formation sich ihren Platz in den internationalen Playlisten Sichern und überzeugte mit ihrer Mischung aus Space-Rock und Alt-Psych. Nach einer Pause, die ab 2019 begann sind die Mitglieder Ryan (Gesang) und Logan (Drums) über die Zukunft der Band zu diskutieren und entschieden sich dazu, dieses Projekt nicht sterben zu lassen. Mit dem neuen Gitarristen Andy, welcher 2020 zur Band stieß und Bassist Cody präsentiert die Band nun ihr neues Opus, welches Elemente des alternativen- und progressiven Sound innehat. Das Ergebnis kann sich hören lassen The New Body Electric ist eine fantastische Produktion, die zudem starke Tendenzen in Richtung des handgemachten Indie Pop hat. Nach dem Ebenso benannten Intro, welches sich anhört wie die Klangkulisse aus einem Space Age Science Fiction Film und ein interessantes Synthesizerklangkonzept bietet, gehen Illusionaut direkt in den eigentlichen Opener The New Body Electric über und beweisen ihre Qualitäten als Musiker und Songwriter direkt. Ein Solides Arrangement, welches mit einer gewissen Diversität aus den Boxen kommt und sich in seinen einzelnen Abschnitten hinsichtlich Richtung und Taktung unterscheidet, sorgt dafür, dass die Band direkt im Rahmen des Flusses ihres Arrangements für Sympathiepunkte sorgt. Auch Kompositorisch und Sounddesign Technisch überzeugen Illusionaut auf Ganzer Linie! Ihr spaciger Sound, der von treibenden Drums und Bassriffs zum tragen gebracht wird, ist die Grundlage auf welche das abgespacte Rockspektakel zum Tragen kommt: Eingängige Gitarren und spannende Effektierungen-, machen die Songs zu einem besonderen Erlebnis. Songs wie Bella, welches mit seinem düsteren Klang und einer ergreifenden Riffstruktur sind hierbei ein Garant für ein ultimatives Spaceerlebnis. Sänger Ryan passt wie die Faust auf’s Auge zu der musikalischen Darbietung, welche Illusionaut hier zum Besten geben. Packende Riffstrukturen, werden von treibender Rhythmik transportiert und ziehen den Zuhörer mit-, und somit in das musikalische Universum von Illusionaut, die wahrlich fantastische Songwriter und Komponisten sind. Durch das komplette Album The New Body Electric zieht sich die kompositorische Power dieser Band, welche es versteht gute Songs zu komponieren und zu schreiben. Synthesizer runden im Arrangement von Songs wie Bella ab und geben ihm somit einen ordentlichen und unverwechselbaren Charakter. Nach einer Inspirierenden mit Verzerrern versehenen Einleitung, für welche sich der Bassist verantwortlich zeigt, geht es dann mit Through The Trees weiter, einer Produktion die mit ihrem progressiven Einfluss eine fantastische und komplexe Rocknummer darstellt und die mit melodischer Inspiration eine fantastische Brücke für die schönen Vocals dient, wobei man diesem an dieser Stelle sein absolutes Talent gesondert bescheinigen muss. Traumhafte Arrangements sind bei wunderschönen und gemäßigten Nummern wie Across Plains ebenso gegeben und lassen den Hörer quasi mitschwingen, sodass er alles um sich herum ausblendet. Die beste Technik nützt keiner Band etwas, wenn sie die Hörer nicht berührt und genau das gelingt Illusionaut auf ihrem neuem Album The New Body Electric auf jedem einzelnen dargebotenen Titel. Energisch im mittleren Tempo gehalten sorgt das progressive und bombastische Wake Up für den muntermachenden Weckruf und wirkt wie eine Mischung aus rauem Indie Rock und Space Rock und dringt mit anspruchsvoller Komposition und druckvollem Sound zu euren Ohren. Think It Over wird im gemäßigten Tempo im progressiven Habitus präsentiert. Zu dem kompromisslosen Rocksound, der aus einer Armee aus treibenden Drums, druckvollen Bässen und energischen Gitarren besteht, werden traumhafte Synthesizerklänge auf das Arrangement gegeben, welche hierbei zusammen mit den Vocals, abermals für eine ergreifende Rockodysee durch den akustischen Weltraum sorgt. Erneut hat die Band mit ihrem progressiven Space Rock Sound ein fantastisches Ensemble präsentiert. Mit einer düsteren Klangkulisse, die eine große Räumlichkeit entfacht präsentieren Illusionaut ihren Song Let The Devil und immer mehr wird klar, dass der Bandname Programm ist: Die Formation aus Amerika präsentiert hier erneut Material, welches mit der Fantasie des Zuhörers spielt und hier erneut ein diverses Sounddesign präsentiert, welches direkt Catched. Zum krönenden Abschluss gibt es dann mit We Never Sleep einen bombastischen progressiven Rocker, der mit der gewohnten soliden Herangehensweise besticht, für welche Illusionaut auf The New Body Electric präsentiert. Fazit 8 von 10: Atemberaubende und fantastische Platte des Spacerock mit musikalischem Anspruch – unbedingt anhören Mehr zu Illusionaut im Netz: Illusionaut bei Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/illusionautband/ Illusionaut bei Apple Music anhören: https://music.apple.com/artist/illusionaut/1365431016 Illusionaut bei Spotify anhören: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2UtuOqtjgCUnpRtMtsxeD3” - unbedingt anhören

Excess Magazine

Sleeping Bag Studios

Back in 2018, I had the pleasure of listening to the debut record by Illusionaut, called Snow Queen. If you click here to read it, I’m positive that I had a ton of great things to say about it, even without going back over it myself prior to writing this new review here – it’d just be uncharacteristic of me to not love on a band like this that has pumped out such immaculate sonic depth through my speakers, you know? Best way I can prove that to ya now, would be to point out the fact I can still remember highlights like “Glue Trap,” and songs like “Keep Running” are embedded firmly into the soundtrack of my LIFE. I don’t forget great music, and Illusionaut made a bunch of it when they made their debut, no doubt about it. So to say that I’m pleased to report this record exceeded all expectations I could have possibly had would be the biggest understatement I could make – I’m freakin’ STOKED about what I hear on The New Body Electric and the way that Illusionaut continued to evolve since they made Snow Queen. Based out of Little Rock, Arkansas…I’ll be real with ya…with what I know & what I’ve learned throughout writing this review, we’re damn near lucky we even GET another Illusionaut record…I feel like this band ended up much closer to extinction than many of us might ever know. According to legend, they successfully toured for quite a while in support of Snow Queen (ahem – Ottawa IS on the map, feel free to stop by!), and then…I mean…it’s hard to say they didn’t basically implode somewhat from there. From the ashes of the remnants, two of the original members decided to refocus the vision for what Illusionaut was meant to be, and the approach they’d take to their music. They’d wear masks even, to prevent any ego from taking over…to remain anonymous…to make their music as a singular entity, fully united as one. They also picked up a couple more key players in the process, to round out their lineup to a meaty four – and slowly over the past two years or so, the songs of The New Body Electric began to take shape… …and voila, here we are. At long last, they returned at the end of the year with their brand-new album, sounding more inspired, bigger & more badass than they ever have before. Don’t get it twisted & don’t get me wrong – you’ve already read a fraction of how much I was digging on their debut, and I still do – but this…this is the sound of a band that has embraced their evolution and maximized their potential. I listen to The New Body Electric, and I’m downright amazed by the consistency of this record from start to finish. Nine tracks in total – I can guarantee that if you dig what you hear straight off the drop of the “Intro” and the record’s title-track to follow, that you’ll love everything you hear on the entire album. And that ain’t a promise I type out all that often, if ever really…but that’s just how consistent The New Body Electric genuinely IS…it’s bloody bulletproof if you ask me, loaded with Illusionaut’s best to-date. For real…when a critic’s biggest beef can pretty much only come down to the question of “why have the “Intro” as a separate track instead of just adding that extra twenty-eight seconds to the first tune?” – you’re in pretty damn good shape, you follow me? Aside from nitpicking on some mundane detail that doesn’t matter like that anyway, they leave you with nothing else to even consider as questionable – the rest just makes pure sense. As with all music, sure there’s personal taste involved…and hopefully you have some! If you do, then you’ll have no problems here at all. I’m kidding of course…sort of anyhow – but you get what I mean…if Jack Johnson & sandal-wearing acoustic dudes are your jam, you might not find yourself in the front row for Illusionaut…and I’m confident they’ll find a way to live without ya; but if you’re into bands like Jane’s Addiction, Failure, and Quicksand…you’ll love Illusionaut as much as I do. The first song alone should more than convince ya…listening to “The New Body Electric” was like hearing some kind of extremely rad hybrid between something like Jane’s Addiction, Filter, and Radiohead all rolled into one somehow…especially when you hit the vocal strengths displayed in the chorus of this cut. It’s a beefy record y’all…nine tracks, eight songs & an “Intro,” but still hittin’ that forty-minute mark when all is said & done…that puts ya at about an average of five-minutes per song, so rest assured, as you’d expect from Illusionaut, these songs they’ve created have multiple twists & turns that’ll take you on a verifiable sonic trip. Like…no joke…LISTEN to the way these guys harness the power of the moment and push “The New Body Electric” to the incredible heights it reaches, starting right around the 2:30-ish mark…before that point, they were solidly exploring the space-like dimensions of their melodic-side, but once you tick past the 2:45 mark, it’s game-fucking-ON, and Illusionaut starts to show you what they’re capable of at their max strength combined. Listen to those guitar tones around the 3:50 mark will ya? Brilliant! The serious pound of the drums…amazing. The boldness in the bass-lines throughout the whole song…essential. The vocals…are straight-up outta this world…imaginative & stunningly creative; “The New Body Electric” ain’t just a great opening tune, ain’t just a solid title-track…it’s arguably still among the record’s best cuts. I gave it a spin on the last episode of the SBS Podcast on New Year’s Day this month in fact…and if you tuned in, you’d have heard me tell ya I’d be splitting hairs when it comes to what my favorite tracks on this album would be…I lean towards “The New Body Electric” as a solid choice in the sense that it makes an incredible first impression, and the vocal hooks are all-out addictive. C’mon y’all…that gritty grind on into the beginning of “Bella” hits the mark bang-on, and sets the tone for this gnarly, murky, and mysterious track they’ve got here. I’ll say this – I always find it interesting as to what a band or an artist will interpret to be the main single from an album…quite often, we’re so attached to the material, that being the creators of it all, can make it tougher to be fully objective. Do I think there could have been a better choice than “Bella” as the lead-single from The New Body Electric? Honestly, it’s hard to say. I think there are songs with stronger hooks when it comes right down to it, but if we’re talking about a song with widespread accessibility that still holds true to the Illusionaut sound & represents them well without giving it all away in one shot…”Bella” is perhaps THE choice to make – I can recognize that. The hooks are tangible here in the verse & chorus, and even for a five minute tune from a band as adventurous as Illusionaut can be, they arguably play this one a bit more straight-ahead in its design than you’ll find in many of the other cuts by comparison…so like I said, I get it – I think it’s a solid choice to have put out there, and a choice that gives listeners the opportunity to find their way through the gateway single into a record that’ll likely full-on blow your mind with the rest of what you’ll discover in its set-list. I suppose what I’m saying is, while I could argue there’s going to be a more memorable moment or hook found in the lineup of songs surrounding “Bella” – when it comes to this particular track, you get a whole lot of balance in its appeal…and it IS a single-worthy tune. I mean…I’d practically fight you all over the fact that they’ve got an album FULL of’em…but you get the point I’m making I’m sure – there’s a few more degrees of accessibility in “Bella” that works to their advantage. I like that they’ve got this…like…Post-Punk vibe in the energy of the verses…distant…almost like something you’d expect from The Smiths in terms of atmosphere & aura – but with the added punch they put into the chorus and the way they storm through this song with such presence & confidence, you get seriously powerful emotion that’s every bit as gripping & compelling as it is entertaining. “Bella” also has the advantage of full-on video support too, being the lead-single & all – check it out below! Not only did we spin their title-track on the latest episode of the SBS Podcast, but we also played “Through The Trees” in a double-shot. Sure I could have played “Bella” for ya – and I probably will in the future at some point – but I figured, since we’re posting up the video with this review & all, you’d be able to check that cut out right here at the page in the meantime…plus, on a personal level, yeah, I like those other two tracks just that much more. “Through The Trees” is like…man…how do you describe this properly…it’s like…a master-class on how to make subtle vibes hit hard – that make any sense? It’s the confidence you can hear in these guys as they play…everything is so sure, steady, reliable, and yet still just as creative & inventive as you know this band to be. Like I was tellin’ ya from the get-go, to listen to this record is to hear the evolution that’s occurred within Illusionaut…The New Body Electric is going to serve as the blueprint for their pathway forward from here and they’re gonna surge into this next decade to follow, mark my words. A track like “Through The Trees” pretty much has it all if you ask me…there’s an Indie/artistic dimension to it, there’s the depth of its Progressive structure, and departure into a gnarly Metal-inspired chorus, there’s the Space-Rock atmosphere in the breakdown – it’s a full-on sonic smorgasbord of audible awesomeness, that’s the facts. Storming to the end of this track with authority, the finale thirty-seconds of this cut would be worth the price of admission alone – but y’ain’t gonna wanna miss out on a single morsel of “Through The Trees” along the way. From the cleverness in the way it’s sung, to the brilliant tone of the bass-lines that run deep through this song, to the remarkable fluidity “Through The Trees” displays almost in direct defiance of its diverse versatility, the songwriting and execution on a track like this is just straight-up second to none. For how far you travel in the journey of sound this song will take you on, it’s a serious achievement to be able to keep us all onboard & listening with such variety, and yet not come out picking it apart from what pieces we like best. Y’all been paying attention right? I’m tellin’ ya…the consistency & balance of this record is impeccable – Illusionaut didn’t just come back with a new record – they came back with purpose and something to prove. “Through The Trees” is more confirmation of a mission completely accomplished. Whereas a track like “Through The Trees” reminds me much of the Quicksand-side of their sound, a track like “Across Plains” bears more similarities to the softer-side of Failure & the many side-projects of Ken Andrews…which as a lifelong fan of everything that man has done, certainly works for me. Though to be fair to Quicksand, they’re not too far removed from the sound of a song like “Across Plains” either when you consider the shift in their latest records into the sheer melodic & atmospheric brilliance of tracks like “Cosmonauts” – but I digress & you get the point – Illusionaut keeps kickass company when it comes to the comparisons I could make. We’re only talkin’ about fragments anyhow – Illusionaut does their own thing, and they do it well – it just puts them in the realm of going on some extremely wicked tours in their future to come when the scene starts to catch onto a record like The New Body Electric. “Across Plains” starts out almost threatening to take ya into a Grunge-inspired track for a more, subtle as it may appear…the depth & punch & true grit in the instrumentation seems like it’s about to lead you in that direction, before Illusionaut shifts gears once again, and morphs their way into one of the more beautiful & serene moments you’ll find in the lineup of this record. I love hearing these guys come outta the chorus and back into the verse around the two-minute mark of this song…it’s so in-the-pocket and right in their wheelhouse that you can hear Illusionaut fully blossom in the moment here as they dive into the artistic-side of their sound without apologies. Fantastic relationship between the bass & guitars on this track, especially throughout the exploratory vibes of the third minute in “Across Plains” – there’s such a clear Post-Punk influence on the Illusionaut sound, but without it ever really being the dominant factor either. I do not know how they achieve this significantly awesome hybrid, it just seems to come naturally to them…this is the music they were meant to be making, and as a result, that’s how it sounds. While it’s clear that I’m stoked about this whole set-list, there ARE songs and moments that do end up grabbing my attention that much more, which there will be for you too; despite the consistency & balance, we all still like what we like and love what we love – that’s natural. So like…lemme tell ya – “Wake Up” is basically one of those reasons I get outta bed every morning…the kind of cut I’m hoping to find out there somewhere. This song…good gravy-boat lighthouse y’all…the performance on this song will blow the rest of what’s left of your mind! You could slip “Wake Up” right onto Stone Temple Pilots No. 4 album and no one out there would bat an eye or question it – that’s the level of sonic ferocity we’re talkin’ about here. What makes a track like “Wake Up” somewhat different in that comparison, is that Illusionaut’s working with what’s essentially an anti-chorus here…and that admittedly can be a more difficult listening experience for the masses out there. That being said, “Wake Up” is built on expressing a whole bunch of stuff that the masses should at least be a little uncomfortable with anyhow – a holding up of the mirror of sorts, so that we can see our reflection and what we’re missing. “You’ll get back what you put out” – part warning, part realism, all facts – “Wake Up” doesn’t fuck around with its directness and relentlessly gripping onslaught of powerful sound. The most you’ll find me conceding to ya is that it always feels a bit strange when you shift out of the energy you find in a verse that moves at the pace & fierceness this one has and come slamming into the steady & slower-pace of an anti-chorus in that regard…as listeners we naturally assume the energy continues to build in the course of a song’s structure, and it’s always bound to throw a few people when you move in the opposite direction. That being said, with Illusionaut’s Progressive tendencies, their dedicated fans will have no issues with following them straight on down the rabbit-hole wherever they’re gonna want to take ya…they’ve got more creative freedom, flexibility, and room to roam than most bands have in that regard. Lyrically, it’s one of their most tangible ideas for sure, and some of the hardest-hitting words they’ve put into this record, punctuated with the sense of urgency that comes along with the hooks in singing “Wake Up” like our lives depend on it…which they very well might. For the shortest track on the album, they cover an extraordinary amount of ground once again somehow, and put in a ton of twists & turns into this three & a half-minute tune…I could go on & on about this cut…it’s definitely one of my own personal favorites. To some extent, it’s fair to say that a song like “Think It Over” is probably less of a challenge to the band in terms of the technical skills they have or the raw power they possess, but it’s also impossible to argue against a flawlessly executed tune too. This track actually reminds me a lot of The Quality Of Mercury – and if you know the history of these pages of ours, that band went on to win our Best New Sound of the year back in 2016…so yep, once again, Illusionaut’s keepin’ damn good company in comparison. High degrees of space-like vibes in this tune…at the very least until around the 2:40 mark, but still prevalent afterwards, you just get a bit more of an aggressive bite to the sound surrounding’em is all. “Think It Over” plays very much like a part-one & part-two type scenario…completely joined together yes, but with two noticeably different energies that play a significant role in this particular tune. The first half has a largely dreamy & inviting, almost unassuming & innocent sound to it…welcoming you to “Think It Over” like you’ve got all the time in the world to do that – and the second half hits you with that more intense feeling of urgency, like the sands of the hourglass are running out right in front of us while we listen. What was once vivid and close-up seems to spiral and drift away as the intensity picks up, and that excess time we felt like we had dissipates…”it’s like breathing in water” all of a sudden, like there’s no time at all to “Think It Over” anymore, and right when you realize that, the song is over and you’re left sitting in the silence at the end before the next track begins to consider how the heck you got here. Love the texture & tone in the guitars and in the vocal melodies/harmonies as “Think It Over” begins – Illusionaut sets this track up perfectly, and continues to deliver after its main shift in the middle, taking you straight from dreamland & a sonic serenity, into a cold, bitter reality & the harshness it comes with. In terms of what listeners & fans would know from Illusionaut’s past catalog of tunes, and their new record up to this point – I’d say most of what you’ll hear is right in-line with where you’d wanna hear the progression in their progressive tunes, and where you might have expected them to evolve to. A track like “Let The Devil” almost becomes a unique stand-out of its own simply by comparison to the rest; I might be personally more partial to other tracks, but this is a noticeable departure from the bulk of their vibe, including more of a Blues element into the atmosphere this time around. There’s always a fresh energy in trying out something new, and I felt like that worked well in their favor here; it still sounds like Illusionaut for sure, but stylistically, they’ve twisted this song into a really stellar fusion of Alt-Blues that’ll hit the mark for many people out there listening & open up new opportunities for the band’s material to follow once again. By exploring the fringes of their own style, they’re creating crossover potential like you hear in “Let The Devil” that brings Blues & Soul into the mix, branching out the reach of Illusionaut’s music even further while adding even more depth into an album with plenty of that for yay already. A lil’ more of a good thing is always a great thing though, ain’t it? “Let The Devil” is a really well thought-out & constructed tune, played with equal steadiness & confidence as you’d find in any of the others…the addition of the organ & synth in this song was crucial, and they nailed that too. All-in-all, while there’s always going to be a debate over stylistic choices & people’s favorites & whatnot – if you were to tell me that “Let The Devil” was the best cut on the record, you’d get no argument from me. I’d probably have a couple choices ahead of this based on my own personal taste, but again, just by the slightest of margins…when it comes to the quality of their performances & production, they leave you wanting for nothing more than exactly what they give ya. So yeah – ultimately, I’m as equally all about “Let The Devil” as I am with the rest of this lineup…you really can’t deny just how much work Illusionaut has put into perfecting this whole set of songs and how they’ve made sure each cut has something significantly special about it. They put a mesmerizing performance into “Let The Devil” that’s well worth recognition, and give us listeners something new we haven’t experienced from the band to-date so far. And here we are…pardon my French, but we’ve arrived at the end – the motherfuckin’ MAGNUM OPUS that is “We Never Sleep.” Sometime last year, the same year “Bella” was released in advance, they also snuck this tune out before The New Body Electric came out…and rightly so – if you tuned into the last episode of the SBS Podcast you would have heard me ranting about how the hooks you’ll find on “We Never Sleep” are probably the most memorable of the whole bunch. The longest track on the record at just shy of seven-minutes, this is THE finale you wanna hear on a record y’all, full-stop. Illusionaut comes at this one hard throughout its beginning – but the shift into the bliss you’ll find in the main hooks that start to get revealed around the 3:45 mark will give you an audible master-class on how to go from turning a good song into a great one. Like I would have had no problem at all givin’ “We Never Sleep” a hearty thumbs-up based on its first half if that’s all it ended up being – I was astounded by the way this song went to the next-level. Maybe that’s the thing…it wasn’t like they went to the next-level, it was like they skipped five in between, and found this special moment of time that every single person out there listening would genuinely connect with in profound way of their own. The real magic of music, right there on display…as undeniable and universal as you’ve ever heard it. “You can’t unhear what I said” – damn straight I can’t! I can’t unhear what I’ve heard here either – nor would I ever want to. Illusionaut CRUSHED this entire record from start to finish…hearing them put the cap on this album with such a freakin’ badass masterpiece right at the end was nothing more than mere confirmation that the awesomeness we’ve been listening to all along was real…we were here…and we’ll never forget it. No joke folks, The New Body Electric is an incredibly powerful experience where no attention to detail has been spared, and absolutely nothing overlooked…and that’s a large part of the reason that, when you surge on into the massive hooks of “We Never Sleep” at the very end, you just wanna stand up & cheer. It’s like that final hit of celebration & genuine triumph that concludes it perfectly…like they’ve been building to this epic moment from the drop of track one, and when you hit the payload of “We Never Sleep,” they give you everything they got at full strength, and every reason to return as a result. Find out more about Illusionaut from their official pages below! Official Website – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – ReverbNation – Spotify – Apple Music – YouTube” - Jer

Sleeping Bag Studios

SBS review of "The New body electric"

ILLUSIONAUT'S SECOND FULL LENGTH ALBUM OUT NOW: “Illusionaut’s Highly Anticipated Second Record, The New Body Electric, is now out. With their own signature style of gripping Alt-Rock, the atmospherically-inclined music of Illusionaut has established itself firmly within the bedrock of the scene from one side of the map to the other through the powerful cuts they’ve released online. From their debut record Snow Queen, to the series of singles they’ve released including last year’s “We Never Sleep,” “Let The Devil,” & the official video supporting “Bella” – every move they’ve made has immersed them deeper within the depths of Illusionaut’s sound. Over the course of the past couple years as the world went into lockdown, the band from Little Rock, Arkansas locked into their music like never before as they wrote & readied an onslaught of epic material for their upcoming second record. Throughout 2021, Illusionaut released advance singles & savage cuts that revealed the band at their vibrant, dynamic, and enigmatic best, launching their new “Through the Trees” online, in addition to the riotous energy of “Wake Up” & the distant melodic beauty of “The New Body Electric.” Sparing no expense in the making of their new record and sparing no quarter in their performances – the second album by Illusionaut, The New Body Electric, shows the remarkable consistency of the band, while also pushing their sound further beyond even their own wildest expectations. With nine songs in the lineup that speak volumes on how far Illusionaut has come in such a short time with the evolution of their sound – The New Body Electric is a massively bold & sensory, exploratory odyssey unlike any other. Expertly captured by Darian Stribling of Blue Chair Recording Studio & mastered by the legendary sound engineer Andy Jackson (Pink Floyd), with incredible artwork by Madrid, Spain’s own Robert Hernandez – The New Body Electric infuses an immaculately high-level of attention to detail running throughout what you hear, to what you see. From the mesmerizing range in their vocals, to the sensational musicianship they bring to every moment of their music – Illusionaut’s second record is a full-on sonic trip that takes listeners straight into the center of the mind’s eye & long beyond. Available on every major music platform online, join Illusionaut as they heat up the scene with The New Body Electric, and celebrate a monumental milestone in the legacy they’re building.”” - Jer

— Sleeping Bag Studios

"The New Body Electric" Out Soon

"Illusionaut’s Highly Anticipated Second Record, The New Body Electric, Arrives Officially This Winter. With their own signature style of gripping Alt-Rock, the atmospherically-inclined music of Illusionaut has established itself firmly within the bedrock of the scene from one side of the map to the other through the powerful cuts they’ve released online. From their debut record Snow Queen, to the series of singles they’ve released including last year’s “We Never Sleep,” “Let The Devil,” & the official video supporting “Bella” – every move they’ve made has immersed them deeper within the depths of Illusionaut’s sound. Over the course of the past couple years as the world went into lockdown, the band from Little Rock, Arkansas locked into their music like never before as they wrote & readied an onslaught of epic material for their upcoming second record. Throughout 2021, Illusionaut released advance singles & savage cuts that revealed the band at their vibrant, dynamic, and enigmatic best, launching their new “Intro” online, in addition to the riotous energy of “Wake Up” & the distant melodic beauty of “The New Body Electric.” Sparing no expense in the making of their new record and sparing no quarter in their performances – the second album by Illusionaut, The New Body Electric, shows the remarkable consistency of the band, while also pushing their sound further beyond even their own wildest expectations. With nine songs in the lineup that speak volumes on how far Illusionaut has come in such a short time with the evolution of their sound – The New Body Electric is a massively bold & sensory, exploratory odyssey unlike any other. Expertly captured by Darian Stribling of Blue Chair Recording Studio & mastered by the legendary sound engineer Andy Jackson (Pink Floyd), with incredible artwork by Madrid, Spain’s own Robert Hernandez – The New Body Electric infuses an immaculately high-level of attention to detail running throughout what you hear, to what you see. From the mesmerizing range in their vocals, to the sensational musicianship they bring to every moment of their music – Illusionaut’s second record is a full-on sonic trip that takes listeners straight into the center of the mind’s eye & long beyond, and it arrives officially December 10th. Available on every major music platform online, join Illusionaut this winter in 2021 as they heat up the scene with The New Body Electric, and celebrate a monumental milestone in the legacy they’re building."” - Jer

Sleeping Bag Studios

Alternative Nation

Throughout 2018, a seemingly endless list of great albums came to existence. Some came by established stalwarts of the alternative, metal and rock scene. Some others came from up and coming rising stars on a rocket ship destined for rock and roll glory. One such example is Illusionaut. Good. God. Damn! Alice In Chains and A Perfect Circle fans will love them!With a richly progressive mission statement and dangerously good chops, Illusionaut released Snow Queen on April 20th of this past year and man, what a ride! It is one of Alternative Nation’s top 10 rock albums of 2018. Through nine songs, Illusionaut take you on a musical out of body experience filled with spacey guitars, thunderous drumming and some down right nasty fuzz bass. They may claim to be from Little Rock, Arkansas but I swear to God they sound like they’re from another world.“Take Me to The Edge”, the second track from Snow Queen will be your new favorite song after one listen. If you don’t believe me- just listen to it. The rhythm section- like they do all over Snow Queen, explode out of the speakers. The interplay between the drums and the bass is simply breathtaking. The Perry Farrell-esque vocal effects only add to this insane track.“Keep Running”, “Illusion” and “Spinning Inside” are other standout tracks that show the band’s ability to gracefully transition from post-punk ethos to early 00’s metal while throwing in a few winks to fans of industrial. Enough cannot be said about the excellent bass playing throughout. Fans of the low-end rumblings of the Deftones, Tool and Chevelle will hang on every fuzzy note.Snow Queen is the kind of album you listen to three or four times before you even begin to scratch the surface of it’s impact. So many unexpected, beautiful moments come out of nowhere- the subtle guitar solo from “Spinning Inside” and the fantastic vocal melodies on “Hypnotize” being just a few examples of Illusionaut’s phenomenal ability to keep it fresh while clearly stating their identity.If there is one album I’d say you need to stop what you’re doing and pull up on Spotify and listen to right now, it’s Snow Queen!” - Joe Hughes

Alternative Nation

From Little Rock town, Arkansas comes a group of musicians who are far from being the hottest stars of experimental rock and metal scene despite their long absence from it. But after a 10-year break and their return in 2014, Illusionaut reborn and return back to the game, proudly presenting one of the albums that is quite likely to be the best this year. Bold statement, but not exaggerated. Look (and hear) yourself."Snow Queen" leaves a lasting impression that can hardly be described with words and blends in any particular frame or genre. In the music of the Americans there are all elements ranging from progressive and alternative rock to progressive and atmospheric metal and what not even, inspired by legendary bands such as Pink Floyd, The Cure and Tool. Although their definition is almost impossible, one of the most accurate definitions they have received so far is Space Rock - an almost literal description of the broad scope of their creative capabilities, extending away from everything human and earthly. Illusionaut's space odyssey is also difficult to perceive, giving rise to a variety of thoughts and emotions, leaving even the most indifferent listener totally hypnotized and breathless after only about 40 minutes.The world-class quality and the overall depth and meaning of recording are things that no one would expect from an underground band such as Illusionaut. And all this is largely due to the professionalism and enviable skills of the well-known masters specialist Ken Andrews of Failure and the producer and music engineer Darian Stribling. But, of course, the greatest merit is the quartet itself: Ryan Cook (vocals), Jerry Cordova (bass), Derek Reed (guitar / synthesizer) and Logan Kennedy (drums) who have done excellent work with the composer's ideas behind " Snow Queen ".The journey through space and time begins with the title performance, which initiates the slow immersion in the melancholy image of winter surrounding all songs. The emotional dimension of "Snow Queen" shows its huge proportions at the beginning of the album, and "Take Me To The Edge" shows masterful riffs and vocals combined with hit guitar motifs that are instantly remembered. The same goes for "Keep Running" and "Tell Tale," which have fallen into the mind since their first listening. Next is "Glue Trap" - a more rock-oriented piece here full of energy and revealing a very different and unknown side of Illusionaut. The song is followed by the much more melancholy and gloomy "Illusion," which slows down the pace, but preserves the intriguing mystery of the recording. Shortly afterwards, Spinning Inside returns many of the familiar feelings of Keep Running and Tell Tale, but it sounds newer and different from them. Illusionaut seems to be able to create whole palette of feelings with each subsequent composition. And obviously, some of the finest things are reserved for the final because the penultimate song "To Start New" turns out to be one of the most impressive in the album, serving as a great example of Illusionaut's instrumental class. The addition of jazz saxophone makes it even more irresistible than the previous one if this is at all possible at this stage, and the ninth and cover song with the exceptionally appropriate title "Hypnotize" reminds of the band's composer mastery in every aspect of Snow Queen.It is obvious that both the band and the album deserve a much larger audience because the quality of Snow Queen is not something that is common nowadays. The whole experience outperforms many of the latest experiments of some of the most famous names in metal and rock, which makes Illusionaut stand out very brightly. And if this is only the beginning of everything, then the future success of the band is guaranteed, and their great ambitions are fully justified - the reign of Snow Queen is yet to begin.” - Alice

Metal World

ILLUSIONAUT: “SNOW QUEEN” – THE ESSENCE OF CREATIVE ROCK by Staff  July 22, 2018 Hailing from the landscapes of Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. Illusionaut has been described as space rock with progressive tendencies. Influenced by the likes of Pink Floyd, The Cure, Failure, Jane’s Addiction, Björk, and Mogwai, among others, Illusionaut’s latest album “Snow Queen”, was produced and engineered by Darian Stribling, and mastered by Ken Andrews of influential group, Failure. Ken has worked with acts such as Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle, Stone Temple Pilots, Tenacious D, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Beck. Illusionaut’salbum was released on vinyl and all major digital stores on 4/20 of 2018. They are currently playing shows in the U.S. and are planning a European tour for 2019. Illusionaut are so immersed in all the elements of space-rock and psychedelia, and have integrated it so well into their music and character, that it makes the music on “Snow Queen” practically sound timeless. It is the essence of creative rock in all its shapes or forms. They’ve come up with an incredible combination of styles. For a band to create rocking, beautiful, energetic, dark, dynamic, trippy, uplifting, and relaxing moods while always sounding unique is as much as anyone could achieve. The raw power and talent from each one of these guys is inspiring. The guitarist, Derek Reed, is a true master of tone and effects, he uses a wide range of textures, his riffs are unique and interesting and solos are tasteful. Jerry Vigil Cordova’s bass complements everything perfectly, and with great timing and thrust, never merely following along. The drums played by Logan Kennedy are always interesting, explosive, and further expanding the wide range of intensity in these songs. Ryan Cook on vocals wraps up the package neatly with his luscious timbre and outreaching cords. The album flows very well and may be best enjoyed as a full set. Illusionaut has done plenty to differentiate itself from its contemporaries and peers, preferring to hone in on the art of a well-crafted five minute songs without sacrificing complex songwriting. Instrumentally, the band is tasteful in enhancing the themes of the album without giving way to proggy excess. The intricate rhythmic designs are impressive yet subtle. From the moment you press play on the opening title track, “Snow Queen”,  a good deal of these song on the album, operate on a soft-to-heavy build, with calm verses giving way to bombastic choruses that unfurl into climactic bridges. All the time, the band never cruises on autopilot, easy as it would be to do. Each of the songs utilize the band’s penchant for lush instrumentation to full effect, often creating a mood and atmosphere that builds into a goose-bump raising climax, which is what happens on “Take Me To The Edge” where the vocals soar into infinity. The band strikes a great balance between softer moments and more driving tunes. Furthermore, they write melodies that are among the most haunting and mystical of the year, and can be heard on both “Glue Trap” and “Hypnotize” which have been receiving airplay. Illusionaut pride themselves on their compositional mastery and performing dynamicity, and it is these nuances that come to the fore on “Keep Running”, “Tell Tale” and “Illusion”. The former cut, once again showing off the premier skills of vocalist Ryan Cook and drummer Logan Kennedy. The more sensitive, softer underbelly of Illusionaut is uncovered in “Spinning inside” and “To Start New”. The band has time to stretch itself out and create chilling soundscapes, led by rolling basslines, and Reed exploring both ends of his guitar, with Kennedy giving us some deliciously varied drum fills. These are serious, gorgeous, and progressive pieces of music. This album reveals the band’s skill in balancing individually accessible tracks with a larger emotive concept. Illusionaut is a band to watch out for, and not because it fills the void left by their legendary peers. These guys are forging their own musical path, and though they still have a lot on the road ahead of them, “Snow Queen” is a definitive memento of where they are right now. OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITE – MUSIC STREAMS – FACEBOOK ” - Staff

Tunedloud Magazine

Having been described elsewhere as space rock with progressive tendencies, Arkansas-based band Illusionaut emerge on this album as floating somewhere between the likes of Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, and The Pixies – surrounding the listener with thoughtful, dreamlike soundscapes, but also offering plenty in the way of organic rhythms and riffs. The title track kicks things off and pours this ambient, instrumental journey out before you, within which you can easily find yourself swept away – riding the sheer energy and escapism of the moment. It’s a beautiful way to begin, the sort of track you start to appreciate more and more so as it plays on. By the time it’s finished, you may feel the need to listen back through. Take Me to the Edge follows and lays out a similar mood, vocals drive certain ideas though – conceptual properties step forward. The music walks hand in hand with the vocals, building an experience before you that’s interconnected and hypnotic as a moving piece of art. When the drums kick in things really take off, those cascading, simple yet effective guitar riffs suggest that a live show would be quite magical. This song quickly becomes an early highlight, the increasing passion in the musicianship and indeed in that leading voice is energizing. Elsewhere on the project, the band continue to fully utilise the time-frame for each track – or rather, they reach beyond the need to make things fit certain expectations; they let their creative impulses drive freely. You don’t get these sort of wildly expressive, multi-layered rock soundscapes all too often anymore, particularly not in the form of a full album. As you listen to this collection, it feels very much as if you’re hours into an epic evening of live, loud music. The reverb and the emotion surround you, sweep you off your feet a little, and thus that need to witness it in real-time grows and grows. Keep Running is a brilliant song that presents all of the above and more. As a soundscape it evolves consistently, ever-changing, never falling victim to complacency or predictability. It’s quite inspiring to witness. Tell Tale follows and musically lightens the mood a little. An ambient story-line emerges, hopeful and loaded with possibilities – though maybe this is all part of the tale, the fictional overcoat. The switch from the mellow, spacious verse to the heavy hook has immense impact. Glue Trap pours through with quickly memorable riffs and chords that work beautifully together. The song has character and swagger, it’s uplifting and cool, standing out from its peers for its confidence and chaos intertwined – albeit in a notably organised, rather smooth manner. I heard a touch of The Smiths when the vocal melody first appeared. Illusion comes afterwards and completely redirects your wandering mind. Experimentation peaks its head around the corner, the vocals seem distant, whispered from afar, the ideas intrigue and the whole thing cleverly feels like something of an illusion – something unreal or again dreamlike. Rather than write too intensely as all of this plays out, certain moments on this album really let me just fall into a sort of meditative state – the mind having roamed way further than the details of an article could express. Spinning Inside was one of those moments, a song that took a second listen before words seemed necessary. There’s something blissfully delicate and hypnotic about this track, a definite personal highlight. To Start New paves the way to the final song with a seductive meeting between jazz and indie-rock. This late touch of eclecticism creates another beautifully mesmerising and welcomed soundscape around you. The lyrics are poetic and thoughtful. Hypnotize follows and charges through to the finish line with mellow distortion and a sort of quiet aggression – as if the artist is screaming softly on your behalf, projecting your inner demons or your drunken-self in a secret but heavy way. The raw drum-line that takes you through the fade-out leaves a certain overwhelming realness in the room when all is said and done. Classic, progressive rock fans or rock fans in general who’ve tired of the predictable string of releases from recent years – all of you will likely respond positively to this experience. Listen in full, and listen loud. Stream the album on Spotify. Find & follow Illusionaut on Facebook. Visit their Website for more information.” - Rebecca Cullen

Stereo Stickman

Illusionaut – Snow Queen – Album Review If you’ve checked out the recent episode of the SBS Podcast, you’ve already heard me ranting and raving about what’s to come from this band out of Little Rock Arkansas…let’s just say I’m more than a little excited about the upcoming release from Illusionaut and discovering another brilliant band in a genre I’m in love with pretty much unlike any other.  You can call this four-piece band progressive, you can call them space-rock, you can skip all the labels and just assign them a tag of ‘pure-audio-awesomeness’ and leave it at that if you like, that’d be plenty fair and equally apt.  Music like this explores atmospheric depth, immense creativity, and sonic textures that can reach out and grab you – and if you dig your alt-rock…if you dig bands that have influenced them like Jane’s Addiction, Mogwai, The Cure, and Failure – those mood-shifting masters of the musical universe…well…you’ll hear that Illusionaut fits right in there. Or I suppose a shorter way of putting that is, if you’re looking for an album that’ll LAST – listen to this. In a world that is truly only six-degrees from Kevin Bacon at all times, Illusionaut has also demonstrated just how close we really are through the distant sounds on their new album Snow Queen.  If you tuned into the SBS Podcast, you heard me talk about the fact that none other than Ken Andrews of Failure mastered the music on Illusionaut’s album – and anyone that knows me, knows that’s one of the most prominent names on my playlist at all times.  Aside from that awesome fact, is the more obvious point – that the lines between us connect deeper than we all think, and that sometimes just reaching out to one of your own heroes might end up resulting in some sort of creative collaboration between you, just like this became.  But while I could go on & on about just how much I love Ken’s music and how well-suited he is for Illusionaut’s style – it’s also important to recognize that there are a whole bunch of steps that have to be taken successfully in the process before music ever even gets to the mastering stage.  As impressive as this statistic of having Ken onboard really IS – it’s even more crucial to examine the merits in the music that brought them this far…that the efforts of Ryan Cook (Vocals), Jerry Cordova (Bass), Logan Kennedy (Drums), and Derek Reed (Guitar) don’t go unrecognized…because it’s their own ideas and execution, professionalism and performances, that have made this record so worthwhile.  Ken’s there to add the finishing touches and final polish…to make sure no stone or dial has been left unturned…to add to the stunning job the band has done and build on the exceptional production path that Darian Stribling from Blue Chair began…to be that guiding force in the music-scene that points us in the direction of yet another sound out there that we all should hear.  That’s what a hero like Ken does. But make no mistake – when it comes to what makes you want to listen to this whole album, the root cause is the straight-up fact that Illusionaut writes, creates, & plays killer material to begin with. Drifting in with the weather, the meaty sounds of Illusionaut’s music become clear as soon as their title-track starts the record.  “Snow Queen” is a perfectly understated intro – the whole sound slowly creeps into place as the wind dissolves around them to reveal this band’s spectacular full-scope.  Leaning on that combination of influences, it’s a Failure-like sound with notes of The Cure haunting the atmosphere and a Jane’s Addiction-esque sense of composition & structure – “Snow Queen” delivers an immediate hit of mystery & texture combined.  That incredible rumble & tone of Jerry’s bass…the standout notes from Derek’s guitar…the way that Ryan bursts into the mix around the 1:30 mark…the highlight drums from Logan right as the track heads towards its final moments…it all adds up to a seriously satisfying gateway into this whole album.  The brilliant use of space & atmosphere and the added mystique in the layers of depth in the Illusionaut sound give “Snow Queen” a deadly pace & flowing movement that completely captivates the mind & ears, signaling that we’re in for an album full of inventive ideas. LISTEN to the way this band interacts and how these songs develop & evolve as they play on…because this is highly impressive stuff.  That bass-riff starting “Take Me To The Edge” is killer…the guitar notes that soar through the air are a perfect fit…Ryan’s vocals start in that distantly-melodic vein and increase with intensity…and once they’re all locked into place, those amazing drums from Logan come in to add the punch that takes this whole song to that next level.  Right around the 2:20-mark, that Jane’s A influence reveals itself even more through the vocals from Ryan as he rips into the mic with everything he’s got.  “Take Me To The Edge” has incredible energy that runs through it, revealing that Illusionaut is more than capable of transitioning between a smooth atmospherically-based sound and a full-on space-rock extravaganza at any given time if they wanna turn up the heat.  The sonic-elements and dynamics that drive this cut are seriously powerful – Illusionaut proves they’re a force to be reckoned with on “Take Me To The Edge” – and if you’re anything like me, in just two tracks you’ve already noticed that this band has given you countless audible reasons as to why you’d want to continue on listening.  Illusionaut isn’t going for typical hooks of any kind when it comes right down to it, much like their listed influences, they’re clearly hear to make their music an experience that you won’t forget; so rather than burn us out with flashy & catchy sing-alongs, they’ve found their way into an entire sound that has its own orbit – and “Take Me To The Edge” is the song that’ll reveal the strengths of its gravitational pull. “Keep Running” is an exceptional tune and a fantastic follow-up to “Take Me To The Edge” to keep the album on-track and vibrantly interesting to listen to.  Tracks like this fascinate me, they truly do.  “Keep Running” is an amazing example of slow-burning intensity; the movement is almost in a sleepy-groove of sorts, but notice how the power & precision play a role here.  Notes might be spread out, the space might be distant between the layers, but LISTEN to how much passion and punch everything you hear has…even in a slowed-down & more chilled environment like “Keep Running” has for its majority, these guys are clearly playing like their lives depend on it if you’re listening close.  That MATTERS in a song with that mid-tempo pace & ideas in timing/space that “Keep Running” includes – it’s exactly where 99% of the bands out there that attempt stuff like this begin to falter, and exactly where Illusionaut rises to the occasion instead.  The highlights that “Keep Running” soars to are incredibly satisfying to listen to – full-marks to Ryan’s incredible vocals soaring to unbelievable heights on this cut and the way that Logan continually adds to the writing & structures of Illusionaut’s sound by not just keeping the beat, but really contributing to the way their songs move & impact us as listeners with his impressive fills & strong hits. Good lord though…I wish all music had the definition that Illusionaut’s music has.  Listening to “Tell Tale” really makes me appreciate just how stunning the low-end of this band’s sound comes through.  If I had to explain all the times I end up listening to music with no muscle in it…that distinct LACK of low-end presence…if I did that in every review I wrote, it’d probably blow most of your minds with how frequently I’d mention it.  And I suppose I get it to some degree…that’s where those bass-player jokes come in right?  So many bands hide their bass in the mix overall…Illusionaut’s got all the right influences musically however, and they’ve used that as an advantage in directing their own sound to similarly impressive results.  Jerry stands out brilliantly on “Tell Tale” as such as essential part of the Illusionaut sound…and it’s because he’s so reliable back there in the rhythm section with Logan that it allows a player like Derek to get even more inventive, finding innovative ways to contribute to the song without having to be the dominant factor all the time.  In my experience, taking that pressure off a guitar player can lead to some of the most incredible music you’ll ever hear – and that magic is certainly working its way into Illusionaut on “Tell Tale.”  I love the update on the entire post-punk sound that exists within the layers of the music they create, how they combine it with progressive tendencies in their writing & structures, and how seemingly fearless they are when it comes to how they take these ambitious ideas on.  I think “Tell Tale” is another solid example of how to make a song compelling & interesting to listen to in a way you’d want to repeat it through the meaty hooks of songwriting that lasts; everything moves at a pace where you can catch every second with brilliant clarity…there’s no single part or aspect of the song that stands-out so much as the entire song does as a whole, you feel me? Now to solve a mystery for ya…why did I select “Glue Trap” as the song to introduce you to Illusionaut with when I played it on the SBS Podcast last episode?  I could certainly have justified playing just about any song on this record – but I don’t know how many ears out there can resist the way they rip into this cut as it begins.  Accessibility-wise…I’m probably guilty of steering you towards a song from this record with a few more entry-points for most listeners with the more tangible hooks that run through “Glue Trap” – but don’t get me wrong, they haven’t sold-out or gone commercial on ya here.  Noticeably, the hooks in the sound have plenty of strengths of their own when it comes to what catches our attention on “Glue Trap” but the overall balance on this cut between the vocals & music here is what really makes this a gripping track to listen to.  Jerry is crushing it once again with a killer-riff outside of the vocals in the instrumentation on “Glue Trap” and Derek is proving that point I made earlier about finding those innovative ways to contribute as a guitarist with the ability to roam with more creative freedom.  I also think that, while in the thick of the mix, Ryan still continually stands out as a powerful force that bursts throughout the music with multiple highlights each time we hear him.  What I love about the way an album like this is mixed, is that this band GETS IT…they understand that Ryan IS going to rise to the occasion and reveal that power…and that when he does, it’ll come through crystal clear.  It’s because of that, that they know they can leave their individual parts turned right up and put him more on the inside of the mix, allowing the music to sound absolutely MASSIVE and still knowing that he’ll always be able to breakthrough to the top whenever the moment suits the music with nothing that could hold him back.  You might not always catch every word Ryan’s singing…but you wouldn’t with Perry Farrell either – and music like this, it’s never really about that…it’s about creating an entire vibe that sticks right with you.  “Glue Trap” does that without hesitation – right from the drop, it’s engaging & enticing & stays that way. Conversely, I think they’ve put one of their most involved ideas right after their most potentially accessible cut on the record.  I’ve got no doubt whatsoever that “Illusion” will likely take a few listens for most people to come around to…certainly still a strong song, but one that strays further towards the artistic-side of their sound, with more of a twist on the vocals that may/may-not work for everyone when it comes to how they’ve approached the verse.  As far as the chorus is concerned, “Illusion” has got to have one of the best on the entire record…I think the lyrics are exceptional, the way Ryan sings it is straight-up hypnotic and darkly-beautiful…that part is so ready-to-go and easy for our ears to accept.  As far as the verse goes, I know that I dig it personally but I can get that they’re reaching a bit beyond what most people can grasp quickly on “Illusion” – it’s the kind of cut that will have to fight for attention harder on those first spins than some of the surrounding tunes, but also the exact kind of strength & interesting sound that an album needs at the mid-point to keep us continually coming back.  “Illusion” is the song that you’re going to end up realizing you loved a lot more than you thought you did at first. “Spinning Inside” is a wicked highlight in the album’s second-half…what an incredible fusion of all-things-awesome!  I dig the near whisper that Ryan sings the beginning of this tune with, I love the bold bass-groove from Jerry that almost has a delicate jazzy nature to the sound, right before the entire song detonates into an explosive force you likely won’t see or hear coming.  From a structural standpoint, I can understand the looser-constraints of this cut are probably going to challenge a few people – but if you’re anything like the audiophile I am, this whole song completely delivers.  Sonically, it’s just freakin’ rad – I love the searing & soaring guitar notes from Derek floating through the atmosphere, the crisp beats from Logan, and the way that this song can turn on a dime and launch itself into the stratosphere.  An excellent example of contrasting energies in music to your advantage, Illusionaut takes you from the smooth to the gritty without a solitary flinch while the rest of us, as listeners, brace for impact.  “Spinning Inside” cleverly gives you just a glimpse of the heights it’ll reach before the first two-minutes are up, but doesn’t fully let that power flow until nearly thirty-seconds later…at which point, this whole game is fully on and we’re right in the thick of the album’s second-longest tune and another incredible adventure in sound that brings us through multiple dimensions of their own style & capabilities. Sound-wise, the largest departure you’ll find on Snow Queen is in the late stages of the record, on “To Start New” – and I’d certainly encourage this kind of exploration in this band to continue.  From a purely atmospheric & artistic standpoint, “To Start New” has so much to offer…I’ve enjoyed myself every time from beginning to end in listening to this record, but every time this song came around it was such a welcome sound to my ears.  Stunningly different from the rest of the album, “To Start New” brings in all kinds of like…saxophone sounds?  I’m pretty sure that’s what we’ve got going on here…I’m not entirely sure where they came from or how they got in here, but man am I thankful that they did somehow.  Straight-up, I found this entire song incredibly dreamy, hazy, hypnotic, stunning, and completely fascinating to listen to…the kind of song so unique from the rest that you feel like you could write an entire essay on it after listening, because it’s so damn interesting all the way through that you hang on every single second as it plays.  A perfect mix of subtle charm, hauntingly melodic sound, and purely captivating ideas…I dunno…”To Start New” might very well be different than a lot of what you’ll hear from Illusionaut, but it definitely still fits cohesively on this record and really gives us a glimpse for just how incredibly diverse and versatile their music can really be.  It’s an absolutely brilliant track and a real stand-out on this whole album as far as my ears are concerned. Circling the wagons back towards the sounds that brought us here, Illusionaut ends their album on the strengths of “Hypnotise” in the slow-burning intensity & glow of their final track.  Ryan makes a verifiable impact on this last cut, mixing it up with a clever & complex role to play on this track, working from one set of his extremes to the other from the low-to-high notes and finding exceptional ways to bring the intensity to the mic while the music remains fairly chilled out all around him.  Dude’s got like, the power of the reverend Maynard James K in the most spectacular moments of “The Grudge” when it comes right down to it – it’s always been about just how much of it he wants to dole-out to us in these songs on Snow Queen.  SOMEHOW…here on what appears to be a somewhat relaxed vibe on “Hypnotise” – he goes on to unleash some of his most massive moments in what can only be described as expertly understated and completely complementary to the music.  You wouldn’t expect him to flip the switch here in a vibe like this, but that’s exactly what happens, making “Hypnotise” one of the most surprising tracks on the album and an absolutely memorable way to exit the entire experience. This whole BAND is stocked full of reasons to listen…and everything I’ve read and researched about them indicates that Illusionaut is fully invested in taking themselves to that next level & beyond.  Snow Queen has been exquisite to listen to from performance to production and in my opinion, Illusionaut has created a record that’s seriously going to last.  It’s being released officially on April 20th – do yourselves a favor and make sure to circle that date on your calendars…you wanna make sure you get some of this. Make sure to stay informed, find music & more on Illusionaut by visiting their main website at:  http://www.illusionaut.net” - Jer@SBS

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