A three piece psych-rock group from Croydon/Cologne, Desert Mountain Tribe seem to take all the best ideas and influences from obscure album tracks by bands like Kasabian, Oasis (I’m thinking of ‘Columbia’ from Definitely Maybe), Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and work them into something really exciting and relentless. This album came out last year, and as usual I’ve had to work quite hard to find it, hence the delay in reviewing it. But it’s a brilliant record. So consistent, really enjoyable from beginning to end.
I have records at home by bands like Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo, and while I enjoy them the problem I usually have with psych rock is that it tends to get a bit tedious when the songs run on past fifteen minutes or so. None of that here though. Almost everything on this album is five minutes or less. They’re in, they hit you with a wall of sound, and then they’re out again. Marvellous stuff.
‘Feel the Light’ is a great opener. It churns along and makes you want to go out driving on nighttime roads. Or running, just constantly running. I have a slight quibble about the countdown intro – great live I’m sure, not as great when you have to listen to it every time. But still, this is a fantastic track.
‘Take a Ride’ is similarly introduced, but then drives straight on with a proper spacey guitar part. Very 60’s, very Jefferson Airplane, although structurally the song sounds more 90’s indie in style. I like that fusion. It sounds like what Kula Shaker might have been if they’d had a bit more ambition. And were about 40% cooler. Because this is very cool.
‘Runway’, which I’ve shared above, has a proper driving riff that doesn’t let up until the song ends. There’s a great vocal on this one too. Listening to it on headphones is immense. If you close your eyes it feels like you’re being propelled forwards in space. I know that sounds a bit pretentious, but honestly, try it, you’ll see what I mean.
‘Heaven and Hell’ is my favourite track. There’s a lyrical nod to Kasabian and The Doors on this one (elsewhere I can hear similar nods to the Rolling Stones) but that’s not why I like it so much. It’s that little guitar figure they play every other verse. Listen out for it. It’s a tiny tiny detail, but it’s in those tiny details that genius lives. Just that little turn, that little trick with an extra three notes in it. I love it. I’ve listened to this song over and over just to hear that. That’s pretty nerdy, but what can I say?
This is a great record. My modus operandi with music in general these days is to find stuff I like on Spotify. Listen to it a bit so the artists get some royalties from it (albeit I know it’s not a model a lot of them like), and then if I really like it I go out and buy it. On vinyl if it’s in the very top percent of stuff I’m excited by. This is absolutely in that category. I have it on order. I’m looking forward to putting in on my turntable and listening to it until I wear it out.
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