The West Coast’s weirdest hidden-treasure trio, Bronze, has plied their molten composite of serpentine metro-gnomic drumming, oscillator raga, hash-oil free verse, and pendulum bass patterns for seven shaded years, but sonic documentation remains sparse. The new decade, thankfully, has seen them reversing this deficit, first with 2011’s Copper LP, and now with World Arena, which unfolds another octagon’s worth of their signature spellbound, smoke-ringed, psych-fusion explorations.
Tracked at their Trojan Cavern studio / bunker in San Francisco and mastered in Amsterdam by Ruud Lekx, the record freewheels from tranced, polyrhythmic sequencer meditations (“Played,” “Quality”) to burnt chrome post-punk electronic experiments (“Almost”) to jazzy, decadent mystery rituals (“Dulcinea,” “Golden Handcuffs”). The way they weld home-wired circuitry modulation with lofty poetics and intuitive, live-band dynamics feels finessed and fully-formed—and unusually liberated in today’s world-gone-solo landscape. Live, they’re even more baffling, seesawing from fluid, fog-machine narratives to mesmerizing electro-modal jams, owning all zones. Future intercontinental tours should further bolster their standing in metallic arts communities. The Bronze Age is dawning.