Album Review: Dunes – “Take Me To The Nasties”
For those of you yet to encounter them on the (mainly northern) live circuit, Dunes are a fun proposition, taking the relentless sluggery of Kyuss, combining it with early Queens Of The Stone Age and a knowing Geordie wink here and there to serve up some tasty desert rock. Formed in 2016, the three piece have wasted little time getting down to business on their full-length debut following the release of two EPs, locking themselves away to carve out 10 tracks of groove-ridden fun in the form of Take Me To The Nasties.
Support slots with cult UK institutions G.U. Medicine and Eureka Machines as well as US heavyweights Monster Magnet and Red Fang have seen the band gain plenty of new fans in recent months, which is not a huge surprise when the riffs are as big as they are on songs like the album’s title track and SOS, the latter nodding towards The Sweet’s classic Blockbuster as it rolls on through.
Now a three-piece, Dunes certainly make a racket that implies a bigger band are behind it all, coating their songs with distortion such as on the Black Knight-esque Been Expecting You, whilst recent single Denim Casket is a raucous, bass-heavy rampage that careers along like a runaway train, as drummer Nikky Watson crashes through his kit like the Hulk. It’s testament to the band and to workaholic knob-twiddler Dave Draper who mastered this album that Dunes have translated their likeable live sound so well to record, with each riff from vocalist/guitarist John Davies hitting like a well-received punch to the stomach.
There are a whole host of influences from about 1970 onwards on this album, Dunes are unashamedly blunt about being a rock & roll band plain and simple; and they’re all the better for it. Even when songs like Phantom Head slow things down, gradually building to a sonic swamp of Soundgarden-y noise, others such as Release The Clowns rock up like a Mustang careering through the desert with its top down at 100mph.
Dunes’ debut is a quickfire assault, rattling through a hook-laden 10 tracks in just shy of 45 minutes, but that just means the record doesn’t outstay its welcome. Heavy, catchy and a damn good fun listen to boot, Take Me To The Nasties grabs the last days of summer by the balls and spectacularly rides off into the sunset.
A raucous debut from the Newcastle crew and one that demands airplay, Take Me To The Nasties fulfills all the promise the band showed on their initial EPs. A string of Brit-stoner monoliths see the band continue to prove why they're ones to check out both live and on record, just don't blame me when your head won't stop banging.