One of the great things about music is, like books, it can take you to another place entirely. This can be certainly said of the latest release by the musical guru extraordinaire Dan ‘The Dan The D’ Donovan, as the moment ‘Do Do Do It’ starts playing you’re hit by the heat of the Joshua Tree National Park and can feel burning sand under your feet.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CsBcN2CfiI&w=560&h=315]
Recorded in the aforementioned area Southern California, this captures the rawness and spirit of that hostile, yet beautiful, terrain, mixing it up with a fire and fury that’s bonecrunchingly primal. Imagine, if you can, Tom Waits on mescaline dancing to Jack White while a primordial ZZ Top / Rolling Stones play in the background.
In the heat haze, distortion and mirages are king, a woozy but warmly reassuringly wall of sound ripples out in waves from a tin roofed service station, grabbing you with its hypnotic psychedelia.
This really is truly garage rock but without the unprepared rush and naivety, Donovan nailing it every time with something that’s tight but loose as guitars scowl and prowl and otherworldly percussion tumbles in a gloriously controlled display of freedom. The feel is everything and this might seem like jamming but there’s some truly great songwriting here and it’s obviously both a passion project but huge fun too.
Great tracks liberally pepper the album such as the heavy boogie blues of ‘Dawg Eat’ and ‘Sand Dog’ through to ‘Baby Bomb’ with its touches of Eastern mysticism and gorgeous and sparse backing vocals by Christina Reyes. Pull your boots on, fill your canteen and prepare for a journey into the land of dust devils, twisted shapes and sounds. He may be an Englishman in SoCal but this is most definitely one of the most authentic albums you’ll ever hear. Desert grooves that will rock your world and change your perception of what you think you know.
Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM