Ah Dirty Sound Magnet: great name, great band and a great sound. The unreconstructed sound of primal rock ‘n’ roll, the band have already impressed with ‘what lies behind’ and now they’re back to unleash further 70s-inspired hell with this six track, twenty-odd minute EP, ‘the bloop’.
What marks DSM out from the crowd is that it never sounds like the band are having anything less than the time of their lives. On ‘Chocolate Woman’ the band tap into the licentiousness of Led Zeppelin’s ‘lemon song’ and tie it in to a methadone-powered blues stomp that will have you dancing, tapping your feet and shouting out loud with delight every time it comes on. In contrast, ‘Pagan Hill’ with its phased vocals and subtle, exquisite guitar work is a cross between Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, all tremolo laden guitar and spacey vocal one minute, huge, over-amped chorus the next. It’s the sort of hard rock epic that you presumed bands don’t make any more and it sounds as thrilling as if you’re hearing these tropes for the first time. Next up is the laid back, bluesy ‘21st Century Witch’, a track which draws on a mix of vintage blues and King Crimson (‘In the court of the crimson king era) to craft a track that is superficially enjoyable but, when analysed on a deeper level, a song of genuinely progressive power. Nonchalant DSM may be, but there’s a level of musicianship here that so many rock ‘n’ roll bands seem to think unimportant and the result is that DSM are once again elevated above their peers with this all too brief set.
Moving on, ‘Sunday drama’ is the album’s longest track at just over five minutes and it is also a beautifully arranged instrumental piece of work. The band use the extra run time to give Stavros the opportunity to really stretch his guitar skills, employing both the Bouzouki and the Sitar to great effect. What a brave piece of work. It once again highlights the fact that, whilst DSM are more than willing to walk in hallowed footsteps, the band are more than prepared to bring their own unique talents and ideas to the table with the result that everything on this EP sounds surprisingly fresh. The vocals return for ‘Move’, a track that sums up the band’s raison d’etre with its opening line “give the rock to the next generation, homo sapiens skull needs it in his brain.” With its psychedelic feel and hazy guitars, ‘move’ recalls the wonders of the Screaming Trees’ masterpiece ‘dust’, the flaming guitars, when they arrive, a powerful reminder of the band’s immense potency. The EP closes with ‘strike me (hate yourself)’, a song that oddly sits somewhere between Beck’s indie period (‘one foot in the grave’, ‘stereopathetic soul manure’) and the aforementioned Screaming trees. The result is an offkilter blues track washed through with Didier’s keyboards and given a Beatles chorus for good measure. It’s interesting and when the album comes to a close you’re left wondering where this wonderfully trippy rock ‘n’ roll act will go next.
There’s no question that the current musical climate is awash with rock ‘n’ roll bands looking to the past for inspiration. With Rival Sons, Airbourne, Blues Pills and Massive (to name but few) all looking to the seventies for inspiration, you have to do something pretty special to stand out, but where DSM excel is picking from a variety of sources to inform their own hazy sound whilst their musicianship is never less than excellent. ‘The bloop’ is an EP that does exactly what a good EP should do – it leaves you thirsting for more. DSM may not be huge, yet, but they certainly deserve to be. If your taste in rock runs to the Black Crowes, the Screaming Trees, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles, then DSM most certainly are for you.