Tuesday 7 May 2019

Datura4 - Blessed is the Boogie (2019)

Country: Australia
Style: Psychedelic Rock
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 5 Apr 2019
Sites: Facebook | Instagram | Official Website | Twitter

There's a great quote from The Australian that explains what Datura4 really sound like: "These songs evoke a time in music history when rock was getting really loud". I like that, because it's clearly rock music that's about to become something else and Datura4 don't want that to happen. They're happy with their high volume and psychedelic wail and tantalising hints at what might arrive in the fresh new decade of the 1970s but they're also happy to watch other bands actually carve that retro-future.

Oddly, they start out heavy with Black Dog Running, which for a while is as doomladen as anything on this album, with the sole late exception of Cat on a Roof, which has some wild old school Hammond organ to thank for its heaviness. It warms up and the middle section alternates between Black Sabbath and maybe Vanilla Fudge, heavy blues/psych that couldn't ever be called metal.

After that's the title track, which is like an entire classic rock station distilled down into one song. I heard Radar Love, Roadhouse Blues, Spirit in the Sky and a host of others, not to mention the overt nods to John Lee Hooker, but each only for brief moments because it somehow finds its vibe in and amongst those recognisable sounds. Frankly, I kind of dug the fact that it sounded so reminiscent of other songs without actually ripping any of them off.

There's actually a lot of seventies influence here for a band who sound like they don't want to leave the late sixties. Run with Lucy has a glam vibe to it, like a Marc Bolan song. The band's cover of Jessie Hill's 1960 hit Ooh Poo Pah Doo sounds more like an early seventies Deep Purple cover. The City of Lights is highly reminiscent of classic era Blue Öyster Cult. Not for Me begins with a quiet guitar that's the closest the band get to Led Zeppelin.

Their Facebook page suggests that, in addition to western bands like Nazz, Status Quo and Humble Pie, they also cite influences from Australian bands. It's been a long while since I've seen the the Masters Apprentices cited in anything, but I'm a big fan of A Toast to Panama Red. I hadn't heard of the Ted Mulry Gang, but I should clearly check them out.

Not everything here is essential. I quite liked Evil People, Pt. 2 on first listen, but it got old by the second time through. It would be too clichéd and arbitrary to suggest that Not for Me is, well, not for me, but it isn't my favourite song on here by a long shot. The honky tonk piano sounds very out of place, even if the neat guitarwork reminds of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Frankly, these two songs together point towards the album tailing off early, but Cat on a Roof brings it back and The City of Lights wraps it up really nicely. None of these songs are bad and it wouldn't surprise me if the ones I liked least might be the favourites for someone else. There's enough here for everyone to find their own good and bad.

This is apparently the third album for Datura4 and I enjoyed it. I can see them on the stage at an Aussie pub in the middle of nowhere connecting with the patrons, whether they're drunk or not, as long as they're playing loud. Somehow it would be criminal to play Datura4 quietly.

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