A couple of weeks ago I found myself staggering up one of Manila Bar’s many staircases to watch Retro Dizzy live. Albeit having one (more like five) Jagermeisters too many, I remember the band standing out amongst the Psych Night line-up. This is mainly due to the grunge-groove equilibrium, evident throughout the band’s latest EP called “Creatures of the Black Desert”, that the band maintains.
Right from the track’s eerie first notes, the EP’s opener ‘Swing Swiftly’, succeeds in whetting listeners’ appetite for the ‘60s inspired music trip “Creatures of the Black Desert” creates. In slight contrast to the opener, ‘Lick Your Tongue’ and ‘Concrete’ serve as the EP’s Dollfins-esque surf rock/punk offering. Aided with backing vocals from bassist, Stuart Dods, and rolling rhythms from drummer, Nicolaas Rossouw, the two tracks insert a burst of energy into the EP.
‘My Baby Got Electrocuted’ features a bluesy chord progression that is difficult not to sway along to whilst lead vocalist, Richard Liefeldt, howls ‘Babe I’m going to love you for eternity’ showing off his smooth, yet fervent, voice. ‘Carlos the Jackal’ and ‘Brother’ both show off Retro Dizzy’s more rockabilly sound.
My main concern with the emerging psych rock genre is that often, amongst the reverb and distortion, bands fail to maintain their groove which is vital in producing music that resonates with the soul. However, Retro Dizzy has managed to do just that proven by my favourite track off the EP, ‘Honey’. With striking bass lines, gritty guitar solos and Liefeldt’s melodic vocals, the track is a true testament to the band’s talent.
“Creatures of the Black Desert” is like The Kimberly Hotel on a Friday night – both have their own eclectic mix of elements, The Kimberly with its patrons/bergies and the EP with its myriad of ‘60s sounds, that somehow seem to fit together.
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Listen to ‘Creature Of The Black Desert’ on Bandcamp.