When I first started writing for Texx and the City some eight years ago, Retro Dizzy was my first interview. They were a fresh-faced surf rock quartet straight outta Hermanus, who proceeded to take the psych rock scene by storm over the next few years. Cut to 2023 and the band, refreshed, reinvigorated and with a couple of changes to their line up, just dropped their first new material in three years.
If anything has marked a new wave for the band, it might just be “Manipulator”. Gone is the gritty, roughed-up, balls-to-the-wall rigidity of their early works. They return wielding sonic restraint, pillowy drums, and the sort of strangely muffled psych-rock cadence which flexes their growth in a way I’ve rarely seen.
“Manipulator” cuts to the chase before you have a chance to wonder. It’s a fiery, fierce commentary on, well, manipulation, and the cold, hard, cutthroat realities of wielding that force. Fuzzed out guitars backup softened drums and a tempered rhythmic section which breathes expert restraint. It’s not that they’ve lost their fervent energy – quite the opposite, in fact – they’re just wielding it in a different way these days.
The video, filmed and edited by Mark Reitz, is a black and white fever dream which follows drummer Nicolaas through a manic day. Baked beans eaten out the can for breakfast is one thing, driving through warping Cape Town streets quite another – cut to his return to his smokey, occupied house whereupon he gives into whatever wildness had built inside him.
Retro Dizzy are back and they’re not going anywhere – let “Manipulator” be testimony to that.
Feature pic supplied by artist