Album review: Datura4 | Hairy Mountain

The sonic template of Fremantle’s Datura4 has been forged from a rich musical heritage. Front man Dom Mariani previously helmed much loved 80’s melodic garage proponents The Stems (as well as The Someloves and DM3), while guitarist Greg Hitchcock has had stints with You Am I and The New Christs amongst others. The band is rounded out by ex-Drones drummer Warren Hall and bassist Stu Loasby.

While a strong grasp of classic hooks and memorable melodies remain, this musical coming together is an altogether hairier beast. On Hairy Mountain the band lovingly channel the meatier sonic spectrum of the late 60’s and early 70’s, with cult Aussie bands such as Buffalo and The Coloured Balls springing to mind across the album’s 10 tracks.

Lashings of harder edged rock stylings, dabs of psychedelia, epic guitar sorcery and boogie rock schwing shape the band’s sonic terrain. These songs are drawn out musical journeys, with most clocking in at the 4 minute mark and beyond.

Opening track Gold Rush starts with a meaty, head nodding riff before tasty, 70’s inflected harmonizing broadens the bands scope into wide screen territory as the track unwinds with lashings of tasteful guitar noodling.

Second track, Trolls is a righteous diss of faceless keyboard warriors, delivering a solid follow up punch and the memorable refrain “While you’re sleeping, trolls are creeping.” Meanwhile Uphill Climb ebbs and flows, power and urgency melting away within a hazy, psych-blues channelling extended outro.

Mary Carroll Park, Greedy World and Confide In Me are full tilt, boogie rocking delights, ZZ Top dancing in a muddy paddock with Daddy Cool. While the album’s title track chugs along in the vein of a heavy duty, biker-blues lunker before rising frantically into the stratosphere on the back of turbo driven rifferola and epic guitar manna. The solid rocking pace only lets up on the album’s final, acoustically strummed number Broken Path.

What elevates Datura4 above the pack is that they clearly know their way around a tune, their classic song-writing chops taking them far beyond simply a stitched up bunch of resin soaked riffs looking for a song. And with the bands’ collective musical pedigree, perhaps this should come as no great surprise. What is rather surprising is the relative obscurity in which a release of this quality currently exists, so to borrow a line, ‘do yourself a favour’ and go scale the Hairy Mountain with Datura4.

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