Review: The Re-Stoned – Analog

LP. Oak Island Records.

Should there be a fundamental difference, other than nailing their drug of choice to their front porch, this is jam-based psychedelia, as opposed to the stomach-punching crawl of stoner rock. Consequently, the poorly-named Re-Stoned, a purely instrumental Russian outfit, present acceptably-sized riffery (nothing beyond the six minute mark) with a little too much live authenticity to warrant closing your eyes and imagining you’re communing with the Slavic ancients.

It is, with very little due respect, a bit amateurish. The drumming is of the kind which evokes years of practicing with bamboo garden canes against Tupperware – it’s all a bit of an unnecessary struggle. Riffs are plentiful but a little too self-satisfied, more Poundland Eric Clapton than dangerous sonic mists. Poundland Eric Clapton is very harsh, is a TK Maxx Eric Clapton less insulting? You’d tolerate it at a free performance in a pub, to pay money for it is upsetting for all concerned. The action is occasionally enlivened by some Monster Magnet-esque effects pedal trickery, though, sadly, less is very much less in this case.

Here’s the rub. This release is limited to 200 copies – 100 of which are on an alternatively coloured-vinyl to the already purple standard, along with a poster. The music is inoffensive, if uninspiring but to charge the determined collector potentially double for someone chucking in a different colour half-way through pressing – triple if they already had the CD or digital release from 2011, is insulting. This has really gone too far. The recent Record Store Day has seen a deluge of un-purchased records filling the racks of unfortunate shop-owners who had little choice in what they received. Dozens of titles, protesting their rarity in the hope you don’t stop to query why you’re thirty or forty quid lighter for the pleasure.

The cost of manufacturing vinyl records is staggeringly high, something which is unlikely to change dramatically in the near or even not-so-near future. Releasing things for a niche market is to be applauded and encouraged but to do so with such a flagrant disregard for the quality of the music (or film for that matter) is clearly wrong. An endearingly odd release is fine, one that fundamentally isn’t worth what you’re charging, quite another. Remember, there’s a difference between supporting an industry and letting them get away with it.