hairy mountainA debut as strong as “Demon Blues” was always going to be hard to top, but but Perth’s hard rock combo extraordinaire Datura4 has scaled that mountain seemingly without trouble.

There’s a deeper psychedelic vein running through “Hairy Mountain” than its predecessor and the songs are just a touch stronger. Dom Mariani and Greg Hitchcock have solidified what was probably a fun idea involving teenage bandmates reuniting into a serious guitar partnership with some scorching sonic explorations. And the gun rhythm section of Warren Hall (drums) and Stu Loasby sounds in command and totally at home.

Parts of “Demon Blues” were written before the band even stepped into a rehearsal room and even though there’s only one co-write here (Mariani/Hall/Loasby with the surging slide-rocker ”Mary Carroll Park”), the record feels like more of a collective effort.

Lead track “Fools Gold Rush” opens with menacing fuzz and a dirty lead guitar line before emerging into the light in all its psychedelic glory. It’s one of a trio of strong Dom songs that set “Hairy Mountain” off on the right foot. “Uphill Climb” is another straight-up and righteous acid rocker while the lumbering “Trolls” mixes waves of delayed guitars with a squally undertow.

“Hairy Mountain” sounds like it could have walked right off the Masters’ “A Toast To Panama Red”, plonked its arse down in your front room and lit up a big fat one. Greg Hitchcock’s solo writing contributions, the kiss-off to materialism “Greedy World” and and the druggy allusion, “Too Much (Or Not Enough)”, are every bit as strong as anything else.

Greg “Sleepy” Lawite’s slide guitar lives on in the Carson-like “Something To Hide” but Dom’s pop smarts are never far from the surface anywhere on “Hairy Mountain”. “Confide In Me” is the real boogie joker in the pack.

There are 10 songs (this album goes out as an LP as well as a CD) and the final track, “Broken Path”, is the biggest contrast, a largely acoustic and winsome track of aching beauty with guitars that stretch out over the horizon. Somebody find a major movie soundtrack to synch this onto, now.

The loving nods to the past are obvious and don’t need detailed explanation but the touches of the “now” are just as important. This stuff is gold. Score a copy and tell me I’m wrong.


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