Sunday 18 August 2019


Although there are large parts of Australia dominated by deserts Melbourne, Victoria is not one of them, however, this has not stopped, sons of Melbourne, Planet of the 8s releasing one of the best examples of sand blasted desert rock to come out of the southern hemisphere this year. Planet of the 8sMichael 'Sullo' Sullivan (vocals and bass/guitar); Justin 'JC' Cruickshank (guitar/vocals) and Pete Carter (drums) do not try to deny that their sound has a feel and vibe born from a love of the early stoner/desert grooves of bands like Kyuss and Fu Manchu but they are equally vocal in citing Mastodon, Tool and Elder as influences too. The band first brought their heady mixture of desert groove and metallic bluster to Desert Psychlist's attention with their 2017 self titled debut "Planet of the 8s", a scintillating collection of QOTSA-like quirkiness and jerky Palm Desert grooviness that gained them many admirers, the trio return this year with "Tourist Season", an album that picks up pretty much where the previous one left off but this time with a little experimental vavavoom added to the mix.

Those out there who believe that the whole stoner/desert thing has had its day (we've all read these posts on music related social media) and we are just listening to rehashed Kyuss riffs and recycled QOTSA rhythms maybe in for a shock when "Tourist Season" steamrollers its way out of their speakers. Here we have an album that although informed by its influences is in no way defined by them, yes there are times when you are reminded of certain iconic bands from desert rock's golden period but those moments are far outweighed by the band's willingness and need to push the envelope, to take things to the edge and to not opt for safety. On songs with titles like "Christopher Walken In The Jungle With Fkin Animals", You You You" and "Drive Through Jesus" Planet of the 8's drag desert rock into realms and regions it has never been to before and may never go to again, the band spiraling off on cosmic tangents one minute, jamming on heavy twitching dissonant grooves the next, each song a shifting ever evolving amalgamation of grooves and words where dynamics constantly clash and collide in glorious structured chaos. This chaos is further enhanced by a few notable guest appearances, Fu Manchu's Bob Balch, puts his guitar shaped weight behind "Christopher Walken In The Jungle With Fkin Animals" with A Gazillion Angry Mexicans guitarist Dan Smith adding subtle textures to its final third while fellow Angry Mexican Ben Smith gives some six-string colouring to "The Epic Space Adventures of the Intergallactic Guru", the Mexican connection completed by James Coelli helping out, vocally, on "Visions & Runaway S02E07".

A stunning and totally engrossing album "Tourist Season" serves up old school desert values allied to new school attitudes and themes, an album delivered by a band unafraid to occasionally step outside the boundaries of the genre they choose to work in and who sound all the more impressive because of that.
Check it out .....

© 2019 Frazer Jones

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