Last year saw the twentieth anniversary of one of stoner rock’s most iconic record, the superlative ‘Dopes to Infinity’ by Monster Magnet. While for me, Monster Magnet have been a little hit and miss over the years, ‘Dopes to Infinity’ is an album I revisit regularly, for its simple, space age groove that it injects into the solid RAWK weaved by riff, drum and bass.
It is, for me, one of stoner rock’s most complete statements. It meshes a simple groove that will appeal to even the most addled mind, but delve into the spacey grooves and you’ll find insidious melody, soothing drone (tell me that the repetitive riff that lies through ‘Look to the Orb for Your Warning’ isn’t pure psychedelic drone material, just speeded up a bit) and hazy anthems. The title track itself is one of rock and roll’s best tunes, yet smothered in a drugged haze it becomes almost an anthem for the great beyond. Wyndorf and co have always expressed their appreciation for space rock bands like Hawkwind, but they feel like the first truly out there band. A band that could come from the stars and yet be rock and roll icons. But for coverage, Monster Magnet could be stadium rockers.
The esoteric ‘All Friends and Kingdom Come’, with its glistening sitar moments, the frantic groove of ‘Ego, the Living Planet’, the introspective acoustics of ‘Blow Em Off’. Monster Magnet put everything forward into this record, and that’s why it will forever be their magnum opus. Yeah, ‘Spine of God’ is the cult debut, and ‘Powertrip’ may be the bigger hit, but Monster Magnet have struggled to create something as timeless and complete as ‘Dopes to Infinity’.
That is no slur on what they’ve achieved since. That is just how important ‘Dopes…’ was and is. I love this record, for all its timeless groove, the ghostly acoustics and the otherworldly psychedelica pervasion. The positively 70s occult rock groove ‘Dead Christmas’ is a highlight of mine, but I could pick anything from this record. ‘Dopes to Infinity’ we should all be. ‘We are all here my friends, alive and spaced but all so beautiful’