Boundary pushing garage fuzz from Italy. Not your average three chord rattle and rush.
It would be nice to be able to say that this self-titled debut LP by Sultan Bathery is something of a concept album. It isn't, unless that concept is putting together twelve tracks of psychedelic, yet poppy garage-rock that do away with any genre-based expectations and take things to an altogether more interesting place.
It's garage certainly, the cheap stompbox fuzz and Link Wray guitar lines take care of that. But perhaps more garage-pop than garage-rock, with an added dash of speedy freakbeat, all twisted through a haze of incense or hooka-pipe smoke.
Melody is as important as sonic assault, which when presented via detached, English-as-second-language vocals ups the record's pop quota, albeit pop that sneers. The vocal melodies seem simple at first, though deeper investigation reveals something altogether more complex and involved.
Its the inventive guitar work, and slightly off-kilter riffs that lie at the heart of the album's appeal however. From the clattering punk rush of opening track Satellite, complete with Dick Dale surf guitar and on through the remaining eleven tracks, it's a real trip daddio! Like a gutsier version of Triptides they take the template of late '60s psych-pop and make it modern and contemporary.
The boxy garage production values may hamper any cross-over appeal, and unfortunately it's safe to say they won't be headlining Glastonbury this year. But for the initiated, at least we can have them as our favourite secret band for a while longer. Like the soundtrack to some cheap late '60s sci-fi series, it's a nice, slightly retro affair. Like a sound whose time has finally come.
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Sultan Bathery is out now on SlovenlyRecords.