The cold wind that blows through the East Mojave desert in Arizona and California blows through this whole album. The first new band formed after a long layoff by Savage Republic leader/guitarist Bruce Licher, with bassist James Brenner from the underrated Shiva Burlesque (which mutated into Grant Lee Buffalo) and drummer Brock Wirtz, Scenic plays nothing but instrumentals inspired by the lonely beauty of that desert. The group reflects the land not only in its music, but also in the lush, tinted photos of the characteristically gorgeous Independent Project CD package. With its spindly guitar and harsh rhythms, Incident at Cima is an important rock recording rather than mere ambient soundtrack, yet it still manages to capture the Mojave’s spacious, barren landscapes perfectly. “The Kelso Run” features chilling, tumbleweed-blowing harmonica, while “On the Dune” splendidly evokes the majestic side of this rocky terrain. One can all but glimpse the endless mountains that run through the region. Other cuts are as methodically slow as the dusty trail of the Old West. Like the desert, the unique Incident at Cima is soulfully alone — quiet, thoughtful and timeless.
See also: Grant Lee Buffalo