s/t by Des DemonasRelease date: November 24, 2017
Label: In The Red Records
It seems to be a rare occasion these days, when a band comes along, who sound so vital and exciting that they simply make you feel like you are discovering music all over again. You know that feeling? When you hear a piece of music and it sounds like the complete centre of of your world. Perhaps the last band to do this on a mass scale were The Strokes before they rapidly disappeared up their own backsides. It’s that feeling of “now-ness” which to an ageing reviewer may seem like a churlish point as they should really be settling down to a hot cup of cocoa and their classic Neil Young albums. Music is an addiction though, and when that band comes along, it has the ability to make you feel young again. No matter your age.
Des Demonas debut album is one such moment, and from the opening gambit of ‘The South Will Never Rise Again’ you simply know you have something special on hand. It’s urgent vocal barked out by six foot Jacky Cougar Abok, as you sense his absolute rage, over a chugging garage riff. The organ swirls around on a drunken rampage, at times evoking The Doors in their Whiskey A Go Go days, whilst the attitude reeks of anarcho-punk mixed with that hope of psychedelia, a peculiar concoction bringing to mind the burning sounds of Detroit. If anything, the spiritual fore-bearers of the music here are MC5, yet you also sense some of that Black Flag energy seeping through too.
Whilst much of the lyrics are based on repetition, a fact which is hammered home in songs such as ‘Psychedelic Soldier’, there is also a wonderful change of pace just when needed as on the creepy ‘There Are No Vampires In Africa’. It’s only a brief moment of levity on an album of high maintenance garage rock, but its enough to let the musical ability of this exciting band shine through. Steeped in the age old adage of less is more, these songs are short, sharp vignettes of energy, all rolled in a psychedelic stew straight from the Sunset Strip.
Most of all you feel that these songs, for all their nods back to an earlier sound, could only have been written right now. The anger that is felt across the USA is felt within these songs, and there si an almost state of the nation feel to proceedings. It’s a vitality that strikes you as being an open wound, and whilst this is tempered by a history of belonging to other bands for some of the band members, there is a distinct mentality of “the last gang in town”. You feel that there songs are the only access you will get to them, and quite frankly, based on what you hear, you can well imagine a life lived on the edge.
Of course, all this could be planned, but for a brief glorious moment we can revel in what sounds like a tear in the fabric of music, as the birth of Des Demonas causes an unstoppable ripple. The future is in their hands, and whilst a baying music industry may try to claim them (and may well succeed based on current airplay and hype), just for this moment they remain a vital concern. Here they sound like a fresh gasp of air, much like Appetite For Destruction or Is This It? did. Here we may find another zeitgeist happening. Let’s hope it does, Des Demonas certainly deserve the attention.