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TONE Scott @ Goldmine Reviews Invisible Hits

Big thanks to TONE Scott at Goldmine magazine for the great rave for Invisible Hits in his December 2023 edition of Eclectic Discoveries (No.9). Cheers


On the outskirts of Perth, out of the mysterious land of Fremantle, (western) Australia, for just short of a decade and a half, Datura4 has been steadily grinding their way to the international presence and the revere that the band has garnered to this very day.  Having been following the band's progress and rise since slightly after their debut release (Demon Blues, 2019, Alive Records), I will be the first to acknowledge that it's been very evident that Datura4 has put every foot forward with the perpetuation of a freight train, in order to get where they are today.  This is not a lazy band, by far.  Before this year, they have released a total of five studio albums since 2015, all having been put-out by the only label home they've known, Alive Records (Alive Naturalsound) out of the music capital of the world, Los Angeles, California.  The band's modern style mixture of '70s throwback boogie woogie, hard blues rock and psychedelia, falls right inline with the mentality of their record label, whose roster includes some of the hottest names in glam rock, psych, blues, classic punk, and the list goes on. 

If you have been following our Eclectic Discoveries article series here at Goldmine this past year, you may have been privy to the review that I did in the May/June 2023 edition, with regard to the band's 2022 fifth studio effort, Neanderthal Jam.   The review was over the moon and as praising and accolades-driven as any album review could be (you'll have to read it for yourself if you haven't already). Since then, the band has been on a steady international tour schedule, and has temporarily put aside formulating a sixth studio effort, in order to visit their fandom at various places across the globe.  And while we can imagine that it is definitely in the band's itinerary, to give us a new collection of original songs to drool over, fans of the band will just have to have a little more patience. However, because Datura4 followers are eagerly awaiting a new full-length studio effort, the label and the band, collectively, thought it to be a fantastic idea, and give Datura4 fandom a small collection of never-before-heard versions/out takes and grouping of songs that have never before been available on vinyl record, before now.  The end of 2023 has given us a pseudo-new album by the band, and thus Invisible Hits is proving to be a great pacifier, in order to hold fans over, until we can get a new Datura4 full-length 'original material' album onto our turntables and into our CD players. 

Photo credit: Jon Tarry

As a music collector and fan of physical music media, because of space constraints, many times you will find that a compact disc version of an album may have one, two or more extra available songs than does its vinyl record counterpart.  Often, one might think that this may be a ploy by the band and/or the record company to force you to buy both format releases.  I can assure you that this is not the case.  If you want a single disc vinyl record to sound even halfway decent, let alone fantastic, you don't cram more music than can be mastered properly onto one side of a vinyl record.  Two of the songs on the new Invisible Hits LP are prime examples of that.  Not only is "Drive-by Island" one of my most frequently visited Datura4 songs out of their entire discography, but it was also never featured on the vinyl version of their last album, Neanderthal Jam.  Because of proper mastering rules, it was one of the songs that were chosen to be left off of the vinyl, and available only on the compact disc variant.  Now, however, you can experience this absolutely gorgeous track in the warmth of analog on a vinyl record.  Just as well, "Fish Fry," a song with a great bar-band feel, encompassing a smooth electric blues undertone, with a hard rock personality, is now also available to be heard on vinyl for the very first time ever.   "Walk on the Water," is new to the ears of Datura fans. Never before released as a single, nor available on any of the five previous studio albums, it is a graceful, melodic yet punchy production, with flowing lead vocals and beautifully arranged backgrounds, and topped off with an amazing lead guitar solo that follows a Hammond B3 run that will keep you glued to the song.  Upon hearing it for the first time, I could not pull myself away.  It became stuck under the phono cartridge on my turntable for several repeats before I allowed the album to move forward.  

"Evil People Pt. 2," a chant-style semi-instrumental that was originally featured ONLY on the compact disc version of the band's third studio effort, Blessed Is The Boogie, can now be chanted along with as it comes out of the analog grooves of this new vinyl record.  With absolutely no disrespect intended to Dom Mariani's incredibly fit lead vocals, the never-before-released instrumental, "Phoenix," has found its way onto this new album, and it is a breath-taking way to experience the pure talent of the band's instrumentation, lathered in big sounding blues rock goodness, and just slightly reminiscent of a non-vocal "Won't Get Fooled Again," by The Who.   One of the coolest variants that you will come across, is an expanded version of "Going Back to Hoonsville," found originally as the lead-in track on 2022's Neanderthal Jam, which is a freedom-ringing hard rocker, as the original version already conveys.  With the Invisible Hits version, you'll immediately come head-on with intricate guitar riffing in the intro of the song—that was never previously there—and which continues through parts of each of the verses and choruses.  Moreover, there is a blazing guitar solo in the bridge of the song that is the heartbeat of this new variant; simply fantastic!   Another 'missing' vinyl piece from the recent past comes by way of the original 2020 version of "Rule My World," first found only on the compact disc version of the band's West Coast Highway Cosmic album, as the only track not included on its vinyl counterpart.  Such a hard, blues laced, boogie woogie rocker it is—one of their best pure bar-band styled bangers, which sounds crisp and precise on the CD format.  However, now, you can listen to the song via an analog medium, giving it slightly more of a natural and unpolished sonic characteristic, the way I believe this song should always be heard.  

Lastly, just the same as was their 2019 semi-instrumental "Evil People Pt. 2,"(as mentioned above) so it is with "The City of Lights," as both were only ever included digitally on the CD version of their third studio effort.  This melody-driven, beauty of lyrical story-telling, which is supported by an absolute blossomed production, with layers of fantastic instrumentation, can now be had to enjoy, coming from within the confines of the analog grooves of a vinyl record.  While the analog vinyl format, and the digital compact disc format both have their designated purposes, and as both appease in the same way for some, or hold a totally separate preference with others, it is just fantastic that now all Datura4 material can be experienced either way, and we have the band and the label to thank for that.  

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Dec 15, 2023
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