Tuesday 6 July 2021

LUNAR SWAMP ~ MOONSHINE BLUES .... review


As long as there are "lemons to squeeze", "women who will do you wrong" and "mojo's that won't work" the blues will prevail however the blues does not always have to lean on tried and trusted generic clich├ęs to make itself relevant, it is a genre that over the years has constantly re-invented itself and made its presence felt in everything from jazz to hardcore sludge. Italian shamanic doomsters Lunar Swamp understand the importance of the blues but as the band demonstrated with their excellent debut "UnderMudBlues" the blues these guys play is a twisted, mutated version of the genre, a dark swampy version of the blues blended with elements of dank doom and sinister sludge. The band return this year with their second release, "Moonshine Blues" (vinyl by Clostridium RecordsCD by The Swamp Records, tape by Burning Coffin Recs)  a collection of grooves that will cause your "little red rooster" to seriously "wang dang its doodle"!

Desert Psychlist wonders how many hours Lunar Swamp spent sitting around listening to Led Zeppelin's version of "When The Levee Breaks" before sitting down to pen the five original swampy doomic blues tomes that populate "Moonshine Blues" (there are six songs on the album but the last is a cover of Witch's "Sweet Sue") because each and every one of these five grooves shares the same intensity and rhythmic bluster of that iconic cover albeit minus Robert Plant's rock god howl. First track "Muddy Waters" is the perfect example of this with its delta style intro of slide guitar/mouth harp and tambourine suddenly exploding into a heavy, furiously fuzzy, blues groove driven by thundering Bonham-esque drumming and coated in vocals that have deep gothic undertones. "Moonburst Smoke" follows a similar path to its predecessor but with the onus leaning slightly more towards the doomic side of the bands sound  but that does not stop the guitarist from peeling off a scorching blues drenched solo to maintain the bands blues credentials. "The Redneck Squatch" follows and those gothic tinted vocals we mentioned earlier really come to the fore here, so much so that if it wasn't for the fact that the songs groove is most definitely delta influenced you could be fooled, at times, into thinking you were listening to UK Goth rockers Bauhaus instead of a doomic blues combo from Italy.  "Old Ben the Gator" has a more strident, almost proto-doom/metal feel than what's passed previously and its a feel that continuous over into  following track "Cross Swamp Blues" only here the band throw in a few psychedelic textures and colours to keep things interesting. Finally we come to the albums only non-original a cover of Witch's "Sweet Sue", the band, apart from a few deviations, sticking quite closely to the original but imbuing the song with their own swampy signature sound to give it a refreshing twist, also if you let the track continue after the song fades into silence you will be presented with a cool old school acoustic blues jam not too dissimilar to the intro that opens first track "Muddy Waters"


With "Moonshine Blues" Lunar Swamp have demonstrated once again that although the blues may be a little grey at the temples and walk with a little less swagger than it had in its youth it is still a vital and important music that can still get you "rollin' and tumblin' on your way to say  "hello to that little schoolgirl"
Check it out ......

© 2021 Frazer Jones

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