Wednesday 28 February 2024


 A Viennese Whirl is a creamy light biscuit much loved by the British but we are not here to talk about cakes or biscuits we are here to review "The Subtle & The Dense" (Tonzonen Records) the new album from Austria's Samsara JoyrideFlorian Miele  (vocals/guitar); Daniel Batliner (bass); Andi Mittermühler (drums) and Michael Haumner (guitar), which we think is more of a Viennese Whirlwind

Samsara Joyride's jam is blues rock but blues rock laced with a little lysergic languidity and desert rock dustiness, a combination which you get straight out of the bag with opening track "I Wont Sign Pt.1" a mid tempo rocker interspersed with moments that veer into Americana thanks in part to Miehe's vocals which possess a warm lived in quality, a quality that is especially effective when delivering lines like "we dye the night in neon light and still walk blindly through the dark". Next up is "I Wont Sign Pt.2" the instrumental sister piece to the opening track, hazy and heavy in equal measure it shows that these guys are as delightfully dynamic without vocals as they are with them. We get "Too Many Preacher's" next, its groove, a mix of Sabbathian proto-doom and heavy blues, is delivered just a notch or two above sedate which adds extra depth to its overall impact and creates the perfect platform for the Nick Cave meets Mark Lanegan style vocals that are its decoration.. The Americana of the opening track is rekindled for "Silver" twinned with semi-spoken/semi sang sermonised vocals, the song boasts a dank smouldering groove for most of its duration but then sparks into life in its last quarter bowing out in a blaze of heavy blues glory. The smouldering qualities of the previous track are replicated on "Who Tells The Story" a song that sits somewhere between a torch song and bluesy lament, the guitar work on this song is outstanding, Haumner's lead work combining with Miehe's riffs and fills to really take things to a whole other level while Batliner and Mittermühler do an exemplary job of keeping things anchored down to earth with delicious low liquid bass lines and solid tight drumming. Things get a little more traditionally bluesy for the superb "No One Is Free" while final song "Safe and Sound" sees Samsara Joyride getting laid back and jazz-like, Miele sharing vocal duties with backing singer Laura Fichtenkamm over a backdrop of undulating rhythms enhanced by swirling guitar and soulful saxophone.

To call what Samsara Joyride do just simply blues rock is an injustice, yes the music they make has its roots in the blues but there is so much more going on here. There are colours and textures to be found in the grooves that inhabit "The Subtle & The Dense" that when combined with the albums  rich vocal tones and its intelligent lyrical content takes the bands music out of the realms of the ordinary and into the realms of the otherworldly. 
Check it out ....

© 2024 Frazer Jones

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