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Dune Sea – Dune Sea

Dune Sea
Dune Sea
by Dave Nowels at 18 June 2019, 10:37 AM

Initially, I didn't think I was going to enjoy this one very much. Completely distorted vocals and synth heavy. But, I'll be damned….these tunes really began to grow on me. DUNE SEA is a Norwegian band formed in 2012, originally as a solo venture for Ole Nogva but didn't really take off until congealing as a full band in 2017 with the addition of Petter Dahle and Erik Bråten. There's a lot of influences mixed into these songs, but the basic premises would be a garage-style,  psych rock. Think an updated HAWKWIND meets CHURCH OF THE COSMIC SKULL with a little DEF LEPPARD guitar tone tossed in.

I didn't really know what I was expecting when “Pentobarbital and Ethanol” kicks off the excursion, but the swirling trippy synth sounds definitely lulled me into a certain expectation.  A wrong expectation for sure. Because once the riff and thrashing low end roll in, all expectations get tossed out like drifting space junk. There's heavy vocal effects, that lull you into a certain frame of mind, but my God, when the riff breakdown hits at about 1:50, it's like a laser beam to your eardrums. Not content to just rely on that one epic run, the riff takes on a new identity to close the song just as memorably.

Picking up where that left off, the title track, “Dune Sea” seemingly rises from the wreckage in a somewhat similar fashion. This creates one of my slight problems with the album. There's quite a bit of similarities to the song structures here. Pretty easily, all of these songs begin to blend together.
But once again, they managed to deceive me into a bit of a lull. “Future” delves into a different feel, with the garage band style forefront here. Well, except for the swirling synths. “Morphine” is fuzzy goodness with anthemic vocals, while “Green” initially centers on a powerful riff, before the synths “space” everything up momentarily, only to return to a bluesy sounding guitar closing.

“Astrodelic Breakdown” is a pretty much summed up within it's descriptive title. Probably my favorite track, this song covers a tremendous amount of ground and perhaps is the best representation of what DUNE SEA has to offer. “Bounty Hunter” somewhat struggles with the overall similarity of structure that I mentioned earlier. It's still an enjoyable track, but lacks distinguishing characteristics like the following “Awake” does. On “Awake”, many of the same elements are present, but the song's pace and pulsating bass lines manage to separate it from the others in a more noticeable fashion. Closing this debut out is the aptly titled, “Cosmic Playground”. In the same vein of “Astrodelic Breakdown”, this one takes quite the journey through space and time as well.

I really enjoyed the overall feel of DUNE SEA's self-titled album. I have to imagine that these songs are quite something to experience live, as they all seem to have an element of “epicness” that just never seems to materialize here. That's not meant as a slight in any way, it's just that these songs all seem to have hidden elements that are only teased a bit here. There's definitely a hint of secrets that reside just around the proverbial cosmic corner.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 8


3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Pentobarbital & Ethanol
2. Dune Sea
3. Future
4. Morphine
5. Green
6. Astrodelic Breakdown
7. Bounty Hunter
8. Awake
9. Cosmic Playground
Lineup:
Ole Nogva - vocals, guitar, synthesizer, effects
Petter Dahle - Bass
Erik Bråten - Drums 
Record Label: Independent
     


Rating

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Edited 16 October 2019
 

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