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'Hotrod Full of Eyeballs' by Infrared Radiation Orchestra


Influences are a double-edged sword. And while the guess here is Kim Draheim owns all of Blue Oyster Cult’s albums, he and his band, Infrared Radiation Orchestra, successfully elude slavish mimicry with some wide-ranging … well, weirdness.

Based in Seneca Falls, Infrared Radiation Orchestra spreads its psychedelic musings throughout Western New York, including Rochester. The band’s new album, the inexplicably titled “Hot Rod Full of Eyeballs,” does make use of howls, cranky guitars, and scant attention to lyrics on “The Note.”

But “The Note” is an outlier. More often, “Hot Rod Full of Eyeballs” is quirky, offbeat, eerie and pensive rock-noir.

There is cosmic babble with the opening “Brian May…,” apparently a reference to the timeless genius Queen guitarist, and words of “the dust settles over our bones, and then moves on.”

“Mad Dog Sullivan” suggests that, comparatively speaking, the Rochester mobster maybe wasn’t so bad, having killed only 30 rivals, “while politicians sign papers that send kids off to war.”

Draheim can more narrate than sing, as on “I Can’t Help You,” where he speaks of “grasping at the curtains like some drunken priest.” Ghouls are at hand in “Old Haunts,” where places and relationships are memories, “but I do prefer when the dead stay in their graves.”

A dream state settles over “Hot Rod Full of Eyeballs” in the expansive final three songs. “Wheels” is a nine-minute tribute to the late Helen Wheels, who wrote songs for Blue Oyster Cult. “I Dreamt of Kim Gordon Playing Miniature Golf in a Silken Robe” is little more than a seven-and-a-half-minute repetition of the song title, fading to spacey guitar (Gordon, who was born in Rochester, was the lead singer of the alt-rock band Sonic Youth).

Is “Hot Rod Full of Eyeballs” brilliant, or derivative? It is possible to be both.