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The Datsuns - Deep Sleep Album Review

13 Nov 2014 // A review by RodrigoHidalgo

So today I'm doing a review on the album Deep Sleep by the legendary 4 piece psychedelic rock outfit The Datsuns, hailing from the depths of Cambridge, New Zealand.

This is the sixth full length album they have under their belt, and being a big fan of their previous stuff and having seen them live a number of times I couldn't pass up doing a review for their new album. A lot of people know them for their very vintage, stoner-rock, garage rock sound, which is very indebted to early stoner rock and blues bands. I love the very soul-like, rough and not to mention outstandingly epic voice of frontman and bassist, Dolf de Borst, that just cuts right though the mix and pushes any song with his voice on it that much further.

They have been going hard for a good 14 years now and haven't really stopped going at it since then, and personally I hope they don't plan on stopping any time soon. What I love about The Datsuns is that even on some of their best albums, some of their songs are very stripped back and straight forward, and yet have found an incredible blend of that and full blown stoner/alt Rock that has proven impossible for the listener to sit still.  Away with the hair tie, out comes the hair and of course the air Drums/Electric guitars, especially with their previous album Death Rattle Boogie that came out in 2012. The morning I received this album in the mail I was on the way out to uni and I immediately inserted the CD into my car stereo and listened to it on the way, god-damn that was an awesome drive.  This album is very different to any other Datsuns album I've heard, yet it was a nice follow up to Death Rattle Boogie.

First thing I noticed was that this album's production wasn't as heavy compared to some of their older stuff like 2002's The Datsuns (Self-Titled) or 2012's Death Rattle Boogie. What stuck out more is their very hard, distorted, very memorable guitar riffs, as well as the attitude I can feel through their music, some very passionate vocals and some very sharp song writing. The tone of the guitars and bass on this album is very thick, fat and fuzzy. Exactly the elements you need to make a great Stoner rock album. I love that they at some points slowed down to a very stripped back, chill tempo, then in the next song they would raise the tempo back up to do a rock 'n' roll song which somehow really brings me back to listening to some Kyuss albums, only that The Datsuns are slightly more catchier and have slightly more radio friendly material, even saying that the stoner rock equation has never left the band.

A lot of the choruses of this album just flourished which makes this album easy to listen to like the track Bad Taste. Look, I'm going to be perfectly honest here... I can't understand half the words being sung but I don't care because it makes me want to dance around my room, but I wont, my flat mates think I'm weird enough, oh and that mind blowing guitar solo 3/4 of the way into the song?! Where's my tennis racket/air guitar!? The solo is coming up! Well that was fun! This feeling is fairly constant throughout the rest of the album, high energy goodness coming at you with a variety of different forms and tempos.

The song Bad State is perhaps my favourite track on this album,. I love the way it starts with a drum fill followed by the heavy stoner-rock riff, then the verse. The verse has a very 'trot-walk' feel to it. Like a nice walking pace but bouncy with the snare being hit on every beat with the kick emphasising the main beat. Compared to that awesome chorus, the verse gives the song a lovely loud/soft dynamic feel. I'm loving the hard-hitting power chord in the background of the chorus then after that back to the guitar riff that of course acts like a hook to the song then segways back to the trotting verse that keeps the bouncy-esque rhythm.

There's sort of a little bread-crumb trail of familiarity when listening to this track and the rest of the album for that matter that reminds me of very early Black Sabbath which I'm very sure they're very conscious of. 

All of these elements making the album's entirety are surely pulled from all these different places and influences but are being brought together in a way that they feel so cohesive in this album. There is a nice variety amongst these 10 tracks, some being a little softer than others like the track Sun In My Eyes that has some acoustic guitars in the background but still keep the upbeat tempo. Once again though... That guitar tone! It's so raw! When it's not heavy, it's still grunty, when it's not grunty their still very over-driven and warm in a good sense.  If I did have any issues with this album it would be that this album as a full is a tad inconsistent at times. They're constant with their feel, but I'm slightly confused as to which direction they're taking, I feel as if their trying something new but there's many different angles in this album and they seem a little too spread out. A few great old school songs in this album which is the Datsuns I love but there are a lot of other elements I'm not sure about. Like the album title track Deep Sleep, it's the last song on this album and it's simply so droney, and it seems to stay at the same slow drone from the very start to the song to the end of the song, which sounded a little incomplete, the end of the song just stops after the guitars ring out a little bit. Maybe others see it? But personally I just don't get it.

Overall, the Datsuns have a very consistent reputation and I wouldn't dispute it, But this album seemed a little sporadic, and inconsistent. That doesn't stop me from loving it though.  The times that the guitars and the heart pummelled bass tone blew through my speakers along with Rudolf's soulful voice and of course the solid rhythmic dimensions of the drums will never go unnoticed and that's why I'll forever be a fan of these 4 EPIC Cambridgians, Cambridgi-ites... Dudes from Cambridge! If you love to listen to music that will send a colourful, happy, epic vibe throughout your house, you need this CD, I recommend it to all of you who love your stoner-alternative rock.

Deep Sleep
View Track Listing
 

About The Datsuns

A record that sprang from an experiment in Space and Time: The geographical Space between the four band members who all live in different parts of the world, and the short pocket of Time they had together in the same country to put something to tape.

‘The narrative of Deep Sleep is this: we got together, we wrote some songs and we recorded them in the space of ten days,’ says de Borst, ‘It was basically an experiment to see if we could do it and this is what we got, for better or worse. We had this manifesto of ‘we have to do this fast, it needs to fit within these sonic parameters, and we want to keep it simple.’’

Their almost nuclear family-like existence changed around five years ago when the four members settled in separate cities. Singer/bassist Dolf de Borst put down roots in Stockholm, Sweden, building a recording studio with Nicke Andersson (The Hellacopters, Imperial State Electric); guitarist Christian Livingstone returned to London, embracing the ways of a mad fuzz scientist and birthing his own FX pedal company, Magnetic Effects; guitarist Phil Somervell returned from Germany to Auckland, New Zealand, continuing his work as a squash coach and dabbling with other musical projects; and drummer Ben Cole, based himself permanently out of Wellington working as a session musician and playing with The Joint Chiefs and the Craig Terris Band.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Datsuns

Releases

Deep Sleep
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Death Rattle Boogie
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Headstunts
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Stuck Here For Days
Year: 2006
Type: EP
Smoke & Mirrors
Year: 2006
Type: Album
Outta Sight/Outta Mind!!
Year: 2004
Type: Album
The Datsuns (Limited Edition)
Year: 2003
Type: Album
The Datsuns
Year: 2002
Type: Album

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