Wide Eyes –  Desert Mountain Tribe (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

c8cd7967cb10105b37c0b2546f973814dbd69856Desert Mountain Tribe landed in the public consciousness with a splash a couple of years ago as their debut album Either That or The Moon received critical plaudits and public acclaim from all who came into contact with its psych-rock charms. On the strength of lead single, Wide Eyes, it looks like they will have the same effect when its successor, Om Parvat Mystery lands in the summer.

Wide eyes is built of the same threads of alt-rock poise, shoegaze intensity and psychedelic haze that they  made their trademark on that first album, a blend of Doorsian dystopia and the psychedelic infusions of Echo and The Bunnymen, with heavier guitar swathes and more driven grooves. I guess this is what the kids today would call alt-rock but alt-rock is named for its parallel stance to the classic sounds, and this is full of classic sounds, classic but not cliched.

Whilst their fellow rock bands are either pursuing a new rock path with their skinny jeans and their fashionable hair or sticking to the rules of a foot on the monitor, patched denim jacket golden age, Desert Mountain Tribe take a cleverer and more discerning root. They travel the back roads of rock history picking up 60’s drop out vibes, 70’s underground moves and 80’s post-punk revivalism, 90’s grunge weight and more modern rebranding that has lead to a nostalgia infused Bohemia. But they do all of this whilst moving forward and that is why they stand apart form the pack and are so vital to the modern music scene.

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Little Voices – King in Mirrors

1920350_537361226362832_615083738_nThe King in Mirrors should definitely win the “sticking to your guns” local music award. Long after many of their peers have either given up on music or have morphed into cover bands, Rich May is still creating sounds inspired by the bands that got him excited about music in the first place. And the result of resolutely sticking with the plan is that they have an e.p.  Little Voices, being released by Take A Nap Records even as we speak.

Just as with his last band, Baby Train, Rich knows what he wants the band to be about and the fickle hand of fashion and hipsterish “now-ness” is the last thing on his mind. That said, King in Mirrors is no nostalgic pastiche, no stuck in the past homage to his teenage record collection and although it is easy to see where his influences lie, Go-Betweens, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Cure, Orange Juice and all of that post-punk, underground pop, this is the sound of that scene not merely resurrected but moving forward into a bright and productive future.

Great pop hooks intertwine with an understated rock urgency and remind us that it is at the counterpoint of the two genres that some of the best music is made, mixing the credibility of the latter with the infectiousness and danceability of the former.

Pre-release teasers for the e.p. have been testing the market and I have to say that the title track alone easily lives up to their previous high point, Rolling in The Sun, hinting that Little Voices will be nothing short of an alt-pop master class brimming with groove and accessibility.

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