DUST MICE // EARTH III // ALBUM REVIEW

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An inspiring Psych-Rock journey.  This album has the space-age sound FX and hazy rawness of Silver-Machine era Hawkwind and the futuristic, bubbly energy of the Ozric Tentacles.  It certainly sounds as though Seattle based Dust Mice had a good time making their first full-length album.

All aboard the cyber-punk ‘Choom Wagon’ where you’ll be admonished for your reptilian behaviour, then there’s a brief stop-off for the sax-drenched ‘Eye Make You Eye’ with its resigned mood and very digitally sounding finale.  ‘Hepatitis X’ deserves a special mention.  It’s a rockier number and there are hidden aspects – those plinks and plunks of guitar sound Ska influenced and are worth listening out for near the beginning and towards the end.  Speaking of endings, this one buzzes back in for a spaceship-hurtling-through-space style instrumental.

The band cover Black Sabbath’sSolitude’ and extend it to over a minute longer but that’s not the only difference.  The Dust Mice version is far more upbeat, with faster playing and angrier vocals.  It’s altogether more self-assured and motivated than the original, bringing a different ambience and another interesting ending (this band like their endings!) perhaps it’s a secret message? It certainly sounds like a record being played in reverse.  ‘Sky King’ feels altogether more like a party and the type of song you wouldn’t be surprised to find upon entering a bike-powered festival stage.  C’mon, we’ve all pedalled for power?  If this band’s music were personified, it would undoubtedly be wearing a metallic tank top paired with space goggles, bell-bottoms and be wielding a ray gun that fired sci-fi sound FX bullets.

The trance-like instrumental jam that is ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ begins with a choppy ‘broken’ sound effect.  You can hear the instruments but it’s as though the sound is still trying to straighten out; processes; like the brrr of an office fax machine or a C64 game load.  Countless sounds fly into 3rd eye ‘view’ but nothing irons out.  The song is in fact crinkled, crimped and fried.  Your ears whirr and your creative brain pulsate at the temples.  It’s like a cleverly knitted digital headache.  No words, just neon colours, the sound of fractals opening up and shaking the brain awake.  There is friction, the cells are vibrating, energy picking up, the drumming is bordering on shamanic and you are crisp for that crunchy electrical ending.   Then you’re flipped back to the safety and regular structure of the Space Rock ‘Desert Bus.’  The sturdy bassline and repeated chorus.  It’s quite the happy little day trip now that we’re awakened. The track seems to climb in pitch and pace.  We must have hit a mountain motorway along the intergalactic superhighway.

Final track ‘MTN Wizzards’ features a solemn organ and low shards of digital rain.  The sax is prominent again and the lyrics, though simple and chanted, cast the air of some kind of initiation or ritual.  This song ends more ‘normally’ than the rest and things feel once again resigned. It’s as though these Dust Mice have captured what they came for.  Will they get you next?  Earth III is released on 16th April 2021and is the perfect album for a spaced-out gathering of friends or a solitary lay back and listen.

 

REVIEW: SUZI BOOTZ

 

TRACKLIST:

  • Choom Wagon
  • Eye Make You Eye
  • Hepatitis X
  • Solitude
  • Sky King
  • Crisis On Infinite Earths
  • Desert Bus
  • MTN Wizzards
  • For Fans Of: Hawkwind / Black Sabbath / Fu Manchu / Mars Volta / Earthless / King Gizzard and The Lizard WizardFollow Dust Mice

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