Hailing from the moderate climate of France rather than the deathly heat of the Chilean desert, that their name suggests, Red Sun Atacama are nonetheless a band with a penchant for all all things sand blasted, dune shaped and peyote inspired. If you then add into that equation a touch of old school punk aggression you roughly arrive, at what Desert Psychlist likes to describe, as a sort of "urban desert rock". This intoxicating blend of desert grooviness and inner city furiosity permeates every beat and groove of Red Atacama's first "official" release "Licancabur" (More Fuzz Records) and it is something we at Desert Psychlist think is worthy of your attention.
Any band working in the field of what we sometimes call "desert rock" will undoubtedly owe a huge debt to those giants of the Palm Desert scene Kyuss, Unida and Fu Manchu and Red Sun Atacama are no exception, the band plough a similar furrow of lysergic dynamics, grainy hard rock riffage and punky angst as those desert/stoner pioneers but where these Paris based riffmeisters differ from their more famous counterparts is in the way they bring those elements together. Ignoring the rather pan pipes and acoustic guitars intro of "Atacama (Intro)" the listener is faced with a furious onslaught of punkish and aggressive refrains, fronted by equally punkish clean vocals, interspersed with moments of swirling psych and proto-metal bluster. First track "Gold" comes at you like a rabid jaguar, claws extended and ready to rip you to pieces, its furious heavily fuzzed bass and guitar refrain, driven by tumultuous percussion, pins you to the wall with its sheer furiosity but just when you think things can't get any better, they do. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the band shift down into bluesy psychedelic territory with the drums and bass combining to lay down a funky lysergic backdrop around which searing lead guitar and whooshing keyboards soar and swoop before returning to full on stoner punk mode to take things to a close Next song "Red Queen" rides along on a "Children of the Grave" like galloping groove over which a strong and catchy vocal melody is sang with gusto and passion. As with "Gold" the band shift things around and suddenly the listener finds his/her self, after a brief doomic interlude, propelled into proto-metallic maelstrom of screaming guitar solo's, pummelling percussion and growling bass. "Cupid's Arrow" follows, a short sharp jab of raucous stoner punkiness that is as brief as it is in your face followed by "Drawers" a crunching romp on a wave of raging riffage offset by an addictive pop punk vocal melody. Red Sun Atacama close their account with "Empire" a sprawling and effervescent, full on desert flavoured tome that as well as rocking like a sapling in a hurricane also allows each member the opportunity to take a step into the spotlight and show us their undeniably skilful and accomplished musical chops.
A French band playing South American themed songs in a style born in North America may seem a bit weird when written down but there is nothing weird or odd about Red Sun Atacama's "Licancabur", in fact nothing has ever sounded so natural.
Check it out …..
© 2018 Frazer Jones