Some artists are born out of time. I don't mean that in a rhythmic sense, certainly not here anyway – stoner rock all-stars Nebula certainly know their way around an instrument, especially one with a distortion pedal attached to it. No, I'm talking about the feeling that the last five decades simply happened to other people when it comes to a band who have been flying the heavy psych flag for twenty-five years, give or take a little less if you factor in a seven-year hiatus.
Thankfully, that break hasn’t slowed their roll if judged on their last two releases. 2019’s Holy Shit was a big fuzzy ball of psychedelia goodness that you could sink into completely, immersing yourself in its sonically wobbly wonder. Their latest effort, recorded in the Mojave Desert with plenty of elements to show for it, gives us a much appreciated more of the same with a surprise bonus feature. Nebula have tied together the eight tracks on offer with a grand scale conceptual theme, that has us floating serenely across the endless expanse of space in one breath and communicating with aliens in the next. Truth in advertising from the title, there.
You only need a few moments of the full throttle opener "Highwired" to get a solid taste of the album’s occasional heavier rock leanings, surprisingly. The lead single is a foot-to-the-floor trip through the aforementioned desert in a classic convertible, that would get any gonzo journalist bobbing their head. It is packed full of generous servings signature touches of the band’s signature touches too, from fluttering digital effects to the traditionally thick coating of fuzz all over everything. The good times roll right into the title track that follows, Eddie Glass wibbling and wailing in both guitar and vocal in the best possible way.
"Wilted Flowers" and the thoroughly appropriately titled "Melt Your Head" stir in more and more of the trippy, winding sound to the mix which culminates in the perfectly cooked "Warzone Speedwulf." A love letter to Black Sabbath written out in alien hieroglyph, the track is completely saturated with riffs, strange vocal effects and the occasional bit of morse code; it feels like the lynchpin of what this album is trying to achieve and a climax to a trip of intergalactic proportions.
"I Got So High" crossfades back in some of that punchier fun from earlier in the album but still keeps the needle high on the vibe-o-meter, before "Existential Blues" turns it back up to maximum with a gloopy, half-paced number that whirls and whines in your mind long after the track is over. To finish, "The Four Horseman" treats us to a spurs-jangling desert anthem; a solid outro that captures the feel of driving off into the sunset at full tilt almost perfectly.
Transmissions from Mothership Earth is a simply brilliant album, a delightful time capsule buried deep where the modern world and its worries can’t touch it. Once you’ve brushed away the dirt and pried open the tobacco tin lid, you’re hit with this intense feeling of having been catapulted both back in time and out of this world simultaneously. Sure, there’s a distinct smell in the air now and the room has started to spin but by this point, you’re down to go wherever the ride takes you.