Saturday 4 April 2020

Datura4 - West Coast Highway Cosmic

 Australian boogie rockers head for the open road on their fourth LP.

You don't miss the water till the well runs dry. So goes the old adage. As we're all currently under lockdown, the idea of travel, heading out on to the open road for adventure, purposeful travel and general fun suddenly seems like a privilege from a lost era. Fitting then that my listening album of choice this week has been the newie by Australian rockers Datura4. West Coast Highway Cosmic is a celebration of travel, rendered in old school boogie blues rock. The kind of album that sounds best when played loud. What better way to annoy your neighbours!

I greatly enjoyed last year's Blessed Is The Boogie. This latest release follows on almost a year to the day, and represents an extension and expansion of the band's trademark boogie rock sound, in no small part due to the input of new members Bob Patient (keys) and Howie Smallman (harmonica). For a little history of the band and to find out what sparked bandleader Dom Mariani's love of rock music you can look back to my review for Blessed Is The Boogie.

West Coast Highway Cosmic finds our heroes stretching out musically building on their firm solid rock foundations. The opening title track begins with scene-setting Hammond chords and swooping Moog notes before the guitars and drums kick in to hurtle you off at high speed down the cosmic highway. The track was written in honour of the studios the band have used over the course of their recording career, situated 124 miles apart along the south western Australian coast.

'Wolfman Woogie' is a no-nonsense brooding blues rock track, enhanced by Smallman's harmonica. The in-the-pocket groove dropping away to leave space for Mariani's riffs. Also worth checking for its heavy Hammond solo and wah-wah guitar workout. In fact the whole record has guitar heroics that will have bedroom players the world over wide-eyed in wonderment. The cleverly layered parts perfected by Mariani over a lifetime playing shows around his home turf since his youth.

The new textures brought by new keyboardist Bob Patient allow the band to build on the sound of their previous outings, but make no mistake this is a rock record with a capital R, one informed by the heavy rock gods of the 1970s – Sabbath, Zep, Lizzy, Purple, ZZ Top. 'You're The Only One' takes the pace down a little, a low-key swampy blues number redolent of the Mississipi Delta. There are those that say rock is long dead. On the evidence here don't believe it.

Click here for Datura4 on Twitter.
Click here for Datura4 on Facebook.
Click here for Alive Records.

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