Dunes EP 2
Review by Neil Ainger
Dunes released their first EP only last year. Short and packed full of energy, the release showcased the Newcastle trios brand of compact and infectious desert rock. The grainy guitar tones and thunderous drumming, as well as a keen sense of melody, are somewhat reminiscent of large parts of the Queens of the Stone Age catalogue.
Not even 12 months later and the band are back, offering their latest release and second EP. The new release offers much of the same as far as style goes. Still compact, EP2 boasts another 5 tracks that walk the line between desert and stoner rock while expanding on what came before it.
While describing the guitar tone as grainy was no insult, the new material bites that bit harder and with a little more clarity. The result is a release that continues the knack for writing contagious choruses while packing a more explosive punch.
Opening track Everything is OK is a ray of light. Upbeat and defiantly positive, it encompasses the bands approach to easily-digested and irresistible hooks with a pop sensibility, laced with biting stoner riffs. There’s even a rather superb use of hand-clapping.
Seapig is probably the most melodious track on the record, with a tuneful chorus and subtle vocal harmonies before the band break it down into a groove and perhaps their meanest riff to date. There is more groove to be found on Simian Circus along with a furious, machine-gun-like bass and Black Bridge is textbook, brooding, Kyuss-style desert rock.
Bringing the record to a close with the pacy, psychedelic outro to Illegitimate Hulk I’m left to conclude that while the latest EP is very much a continuation of the first, it’s the result of a band growing in ability and fine-tuning their craft, in capturing the energy of their live performances on record and in showcasing their strengths in the studio. EP2 suggests that when the time comes for a debut full length, the strides forward taken here should help to ensure that it is as good as it can be and personally I can’t wait to hear it.
Dunes EP 2 is out now available on CD and download here