A little while ago I took a chance on an album on Bandcamp that caught my eye with its unusual artwork, a simple photo of a stretch of blue sea with no title or band name. Hitting the play option on their BC page I was immediately blown away by the sound exploding from my PC’s speakers. What I was hearing was heavy stoner but mixed with elements of the trip hop and dance beats I would often hear coming from my youngest daughter’s bedroom. The sound reminded me of another UK band who ploughed a similar furrow “The Music”, a band who caught my attention with their single “Take the Long Road and Walk It” and was a MTV staple for a while. The band I was hearing on that day were, and still are called Dope Smoker.
Dope Smoker are from Pembroke City, Wales and in their own words “are a 3 piece rock group from South West Wales where everyone smokes dope & surfs”. They cite their influences among others as Black Sabbath, Nirvana but they also namecheck Run DMC and The Beastie Boys for shaping their sound.
This month saw the release of their third album III and like the two that preceded it III is a whirlwind of distorted, fuzzed up riffery, Ozzy-ish vocals and a mixture of rave and rock rhythms. Where other bands seem to mellow with subsequent albums Dope Smoker have just got nastier, dirtier and downright gnarly on this album, ramping up the stoner side of their sound and even injecting a little doom to their groove yet not letting go of that rave scene sound that makes their music so infectious.
If you can dig the idea of Black Sabbath playing your local nightclub in surfer gear, waving glowsticks and Bill Ward thumping out the odd dance beats then you’ll love Dope Smoker.