Surely I’m entitled to be a little skeptical.
I mean I’ve been at this caper for a few years now. And when a CD arrives on my desk featuring a psychedelic vagina on the front cover, and the name of the album, Blues For the Dangerous Miles, gives a slightly obvious nod to Kyuss, please forgive me for treating it with a degree of hesitation.
I wasn’t really expecting anything new or exciting. Turns out I was wrong.
The album bounds off at breakneck speed with a fast, hard rocking song called Don’t Tell A Soul, which is all about the big riff and catchy chorus. The opening of the second track Revolt continues the assault.
And while the first two songs are both swinging, up tempo tracks, there is plenty of variety further on in the album. The title track, as the name suggests, is slower and more contemplative. The Wait is a swirling anthem with soaring vocal harmonies. Scorpio is the epic eight minute final track mostly made up of a tripped out jam, but coming together gradually to rediscover the opening theme.
Yet despite this variety, the band apply themselves with an incredible level of consistency across the album. They’re just as happy and assured exploring the slower, dreamier parts of the album as they are rattling out the riffs in the quicker songs. There’s loads of hooks to suck you in (with Black Rainbow being the hookiest of all), but plenty of depth elsewhere to hold your interest.
The rhythm section offers a considerable and formidable bottom end swing, with shuffling cymbals and stacks of groove in the bass.
Despite the fact that they’ve obviously been influenced by a wide range of great bands, it’s not actually that easy to name which band has had the most definitive influence. The closest I can get is Fu Manchu meets the Datsuns. Or, if you want more obscure but slightly more accurate reference points, try Tummler meets Red Fang.
If you’re going to be derivative (and who isn’t these days?), you might as well be derivative of the good stuff. With influences ranging from Sabbath and Kyuss to more modern stoner greats, Miss Lava have got that covered. You’d also want to hope you can add something new, and the more urgent garagey twist brings that.
And it’s all wrapped up and a well mixed and beautifully produced package, with the mixing and mastering handled by Jens Bogren, whose work with technical prog metallers like Opeth, Katatonia and Symphony X pays off with this type of music. It’s a really clean, rich sound, which adds to the feeling that this band is offering something new here.
So all in all it’s pretty hard to fault really. Maybe the psychedelic vagina? Ahhh who cares.
If you like riff-based hard rock music you’re gonna love this.