Review: Dirty Sound Magnet ‘DSM-III’

Switzerland’s eclectic power trio known as Dirty Sound Magnet have had their unique sound alternately described as psych rock, or progressive rock, zeroing in on the late 60s and early 70s with influences ranging from Pink Floyd & The Doors to King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizard. Any and all of those descriptions are apt, as Dirty Sound Magnet’s latest DSM III, (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and a play on the band’s name) is an eclectic barrage of all sorts of rock/heavy rock styles.

Dirty Sound Magnet 'DSM-III'

Evidently, the trio have been playing together since they were teenagers, and that much is apparent as Dirty Sound Magnet are tight, cohesive, and fluid musically. Dirty Sound Magnet are literally all over the place on DSM III, and most of the time in the same song. Opener Body In Mind begins with some frantic strumming from guitarist Stavros Dzodzosz, almost a manic, funk-punk attack, that coupled with the harmonized vocals, almost conjures up an early 90s Red Hot Chili Pepper vibe, that also manifests itself with Dzodzosz mentioning ‘body piercing’ in his lyrics.

Meanwhile, Meet The Shaman definitely dips into psychedelic territory, with a touch of a post-punk vibe in Dzodzosz’s guitar work, along with some pretty impressive shred sprinkled throughout.

Toxic Monkeys, released as a single, blasts out of the speakers with a frantic punk-ish energy, and the beefiest riffs displayed thus far from Dziadosz before dropping into more quasi-funk-punk territory. The lyrics are cool, but Dzodzosz’s delivery in the chorus I found to be displeasing, reminding me of 80s but-rock with his ‘Mon-Kay’ annunciation. As well, while its impressive, they can fly off in a few different styles in the same song, I’m not sure it wouldn’t have been more impactful sticking with the frantic, riff-y intro throughout the whole track.

Mr. Robert is a mellow, introspective piece, with more impressive guitar work from Dzodzosz, both in tone and execution. The vocal melodies are noteworthy as well, undoubtedly provided by bassist Marco Mottolini who, along with drummer Maxime Cosandey, hold down a formidable low end, feeding off each other as Dzodzosz plays some cool, introspective lead work. There’s a great push-and-pull on Mr. Robert as all three musicians excel on this track that proved to be a highlight of DSM III  for sure, a nice change of pace, serving as a nicely-sequenced palette-cleanser.

willingness to explore so many styles, and cramming them, fluidly, into a cohesive record is impressive to say the least…

Pandora’s Dream dives headfirst into Red Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik-era territory, with a total John Frusciante guitar lick to start things off from Dzodzosz, Mottolini provides the thumping, funky bass, and vocal harmonies, and one can almost hear them bite Funkadelic’s Funky Dollar Bill in the vocal cadence. Interesting neither The Peppers nor Funkadelic are mentioned as influences, because to my ears it’s pretty obvious. Dzodzosz clearly has spent some time listening to JohnFrusciante and Eddie Hazel’s guitar playing.

DSM III is basically a solo from Dzodzosz, with harmonies from Mottolini, serving as an interlude before the slightly-jarring, out-of-nowhere slide guitar histrionics of Heavy Hours. Seriously, not a single note of music prior to this song would lead anyone to believe a prominently featured slide guitar track, complete with a stomping rhythm, a kooky-strum-y chorus, and a crazy, 180-degree outro, was waiting in the wings as a deep cut.

Sunday Drama, an instrumental, again showcasing Dzodzosz’sconsiderable guitar skills, closes DSM III out with some excellent clean-tone playing, before Dzodzosz hits the pedal as Mottolini and Cosandey join him, putting the ‘power’ in ‘power trio’ before once again winding back down, as the record fades out.

I must admit, this record was a bit of a surprise. I’m not used to hearing Red Hot Chili Pepper-type influences anywhere near the stoner/doom genre, Dirty Sound Magnet are clearly not afraid to let their funk flag fly, along with their stated psychedelic and progressive influences. There’s definitely some self-indulgence in Dzodzosz’s guitar playing and approach here, as he showcases riffs, funk-strumming, manic punk energy, Frusciante-toned shred, psychedelia, and everything in between, but, when you can play like this, you might as well display it.

DSM III is an interesting album, displaying a wide range of eclectic styles, while all fitting under the ‘rock’ umbrella. Dirty Sound Magnet are unquestionably talented musicians, and their willingness to explore so many styles, and cramming them, fluidly, into a cohesive record is impressive to say the least.

Label: Hummus Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Martin Williams