Saturday 8 April 2017

RUFF MAJIK ~ THE SWAN .... review

South Africa is a first for this blog, Desert Psychlist has been totally, and it has to be said, ashamedly ignorant of the underground rock delights that may be found at the southern tip of  Africa's vast continent, and so it was with interest and not a little apprehensive intrigue that the Psychlist approached Pretoria's Ruff Majik's latest opus "The Swan".

Ruff Majik are Johni Holiday (guitar, vocals, organ), Jimi Glass (bass) and Benni Manchino (drums, percussion, narrative) three guys who in their own words "bring earthquakes with them".
The first thing that hits you while listening to Ruff Majik is the force of their sonic attack, powerful percussion is pushed up front and centre circled by big throbbing distorted bass lines and swirling guitar solo's and riffs, the next thing to make an impact is Johni Holiday's unique and  quite original vocal tones. Holiday's voice on first hearing may come as a bit of a shock, sounding like the love child of  G'N'R's Axl Rose and White Stripes Jack White, it does takes a second or two for your ears get accustomed to.. but once you have acclimatised it soon becomes apparent that no other voice could possibly do justice to these molten grooves of heavily psyched stoner rock, those startling tones combining with his stunning guitar work, and the unrelenting rhythmic bass and drum power of Glass and Manchino ,  to create a sound that is stunningly fresh and new.
 Designed to be listened to from start to finish with no breaks "The Swan" is an ambitious album that was recorded live in the studio , in one take,with all three members playing in the same room so has not to lose that "in the moment" feel and to retain the energy of the performance. Song titles like " Horse Drawn Wrath Spawn (Godspeed) ", Canabasis" and "Scalp Chisler" are linked  together by a mixture of animal sounds, sustain and narrative giving the effect of continuous flow but at the same time marking each song as a separate entity, giving the album an almost conceptual feel.

Musically a mixture of  psych drenched 70's hard rock, heavy stoner fuzz and grizzled late 60's garage attitude "The Swan" is an album that both excites and delights in equal measure.
Check it out ,,,,,,,

© 08/04/2017 Frazer Jones


  1. It's catchy as fuck, but the drums sound awful. Check out The Deaf Commission from Johannesburg A QOTSA rip-off, but a very good one.

    1. Very catchy and I agree on the drums they need to be lower in the mix but as they were recording live in a newly built studio i'll cut them some slack. Thanks for the heads up on The Deaf Commission BTW

  2. everything they record is one take atmospheric mic