"EMINENTLY GROOVEABLE, WITH ITWALK INTO A BAR IN MARSEILLES ON A SUNDAY NIGHT AND JUST KILL IT"
MARK 'MAD DOG' SHAW | GET READY TO ROCK UK
Check Out Reviews for all 5 Albums
"It'll grab you like a Torana driver's handshake in the days before power steering."
West Australian boogie masters DATURA4 return with their highly anticipated fifth album, “Neanderthal Jam”. Fronted by Dom Mariani of legendary Oz garage rockers The Stems, Neanderthal Jam is eleven new tracks of psychedelicised blues and full-tilt heavy rock that were jammed out and recorded at their favourite south-west farmhouse studio during the early months of 2021. Having already released 4 acclaimed albums on AliveNatural Records ‘Demon Blues’ (2015), Hairy Mountain (2016), Blessed is the Boogie (2019) and West Coast Highway Cosmic (2020), Neanderthal Jam sees them building upon and going beyond on another diverse collection of songs.
Album opener ‘Going Back to Hoonsville’ gets things started with a relentless and pounding swing to get your hot wheels on. The jam is well and truly underway, and so the boogie gets heavy pursuing futile love in an inner sanctum on ‘Secret Society’ until the joyous organ groove and positive message of ‘Open the Line’ invites us to dance to the music.
‘Bad Times’ digs in on their OZ rock roots with a groove that the ‘Tatts’ (Rose Tattoo) would be proud of. ‘Black Speakers’ and title track ‘Neanderthal Jam’ keep the jams cooking with Bob Patient’s keyboard playing prowess on display proving what a welcome addition he has been to the band.
An acoustic prelude that is ‘Hold My Life’ leads things into a pummelling boogie riff on ‘Worried Man’s Boogie’ and sets the scene for personal concerns about a world and the times we find ourselves in. Drummer Warren (Wazza) Hall thumps out the beat to ‘black and purple’ on full-throttle rocker ‘Digging My Own Grave’ and we meet the Witchdoctor who takes us for a ride on the bayou with the rhythmic ‘Fish Fry’ until we get back on the open road with the epic sun-kissed west coast closer ‘Drive-By Island’.
Dom Mariani - Guitar and Vocals, Warren Hall - Drums, Stu Loasby - Bass, Bob Patient - Keyboards, Joe Grech - Guitar and Vocals
"Five Australian blokes walk into a bar in Marseilles on a Sunday night……and just kill it."
Having appreciated these guys from a distance and reviewed Datura4’s excellent trio of albums (Demon Blues, Hairy Mountain and Blessed Is The Boogie), GRTR!’s almost-fearless correspondant was not going to pass up the chance to see a cool band from Fremantle, Western Australia playing ten minutes down the road (okay, it’s a two hour drive but relative to Fremantle…a short hop).
Damn fine it was too. Now, Sunday nights in a Marseilles suburb of this musically-snooty, jazz-masturbatin’ nation is a tough nut to crack for anyone, let alone a bunch of Antipodean blues rockers – it’s also right in the middle of the journey from a handful of Italian gigs to a handful of Spanish gigs so why not, right ? And therein lies the cut of Datura4s jib – fronted by long-time Aussie journeyman guitar-slinger and singer/songwriter, Dom Mariani – build the band’s European footprint bit-by-bit, give us 90 minutes of your time and as you wave our bus westward, we’ll leave you thinking “merde, what the fuck just happened ?”.
The nicely balanced set drew heavily on the newest album, Blessed Is The Boogie, and featured pacey rockers like “Ooh Poo Pah Doo”, the title track and “Run With Lucy” as well as spacey beauties “City of Lights”, “Not For Me” and “Evil People Pt.2”. The inclusion of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” may be a personal favorite of the band……my only criticism – Datura4 (of which there are five) have enough slammin’ original material to not do covers. That’s picky, isn’t it ?
Truth is you know you dig a band when you love the set and drive home listing the ones they didn’t play. “Confide In Me” from Hairy Mountain morphed into a punchy 12-bar jam and “Demon Blues” demonstrated Datura4’s ability to do dirty and dark as well as the power-pop which is clearly part of Mariani’s DNA. Spooky to me how much Mariani in full vocal flow, facially and “hirsutically” resembles very early ‘70s-era Joe Cocker.
Some Fremantle-based, philosophical Aussie poet years ago said: “it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll”. If he was still with us, he might have added “and it’s a fucking crowded space these days but make sure you go see Datura4”.
This was my second time doing the Marseilles trek – both times to see an honest and proper blues rock band do their thing – and I loved it both times. Now what was the name of that other band? Oh yeah, The Rolling Stones – so I’ve got a 100% record of seeing top quality gigs over there.
Credit to Datura4 for taking this to the people and being prepared to conquer Europe, one room at a time. Remember back when word of mouth built reputations ? A roomful of Sunday-night converts in Marseilles will be speaking approvingly in tongues to their jazz-confused neighbors for a while about this. Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw|Get Ready to Rock UK