Three, Two, One…..we have blast off!! Norway’s Dune Sea are about to jet us off on a space stoner adventure, courtesy of their new album, the somewhat interestingly entitled Moons Of Uranus. Yes, it’s hard to tell if this is named with a sense of joviality, or as part of a bigger musical universe that Dune Sea want to take us into, but it certainly sets the stage for a trip that won’t soon be forgotten.
The follow up to the self-titled debut, Moons Of Uranus sees the guys taking their space themed persona, and elevating it a notch. The album is littered with Star Wars references, much like the debut was, specifically on the titles of the tracks Sarlaac and Tusken, both pretty unsavoury elements within the whole Star Wars universe, one being a tooth lined pit with tentacles, and the other, the wasteland savages, who like to attack, and rip arms off, willy-nilly. Of course, if you have no awareness of the phenomenon that is Star Wars, then this is all completely irrelevant, and you’re probably already thinking to yourself ‘shut up, and get on with the music’.
Okay, I will, we can’t all be fan boy nerds of a galaxy far, far away…
So, Dune Sea, lets dig a little deeper quickly, and then it’s on to the space stoner insanity that is the album.
The band are the brain child of one mister Ole Nogva, multi-instrumentalist, who foundered Dune Sea as a solo project way back, nearly a decade ago, and has since enveloped Erik Braten on drums, and Petter Solvik Dahle on bass since that inception many moons ago.
Hailing from Norway, which is notably famous for its black metal bands, such as Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Darkthrone, and of course, the legendary Mayhem, it’s also the home of eighties synth pop icon’s A-ha. To say there is a rich variation in musical genres that come from the Nordic country is an understatement, and Dune Sea fit nicely into a somewhat already crazy roll call of famous musical oddities.
The beauty of Dune Sea is they don’t try to be like anyone, or anything else, they’re who they are. The only comparison I can make is to Black Mountain, but if you’re unaware of them, I might as well say they are somewhat like any stoner band that’s ever existed, in that, at times, it’s all a bit Black Sabbath.
Moons Of Uranus is a ten track, psychedelic, space tinged, stoner romp…
But this is so much more…
Moons Of Uranus is a ten track, psychedelic, space tinged, stoner romp. It’s crazy bonkers at times, it’s lavishly retro in sound, but without sounding dated. It’s like they picked up the best bits of the seventies, and plonked it in the mix in twenty twenty, and what came out is a mind melding display of joyous overblown stoner tomfoolery, but in a fulfilling and warm way, guaranteed to blow your mind.
Right from opening track, First Contact, that nineteen seventies feel rolls straight in, all mixed up with a real bassy, prog meets grungy feel. The spacey, sci-fi feel is with us, right from the opening bars. There are inspired moments of technical oddity sound wise, and when it gets going, it just explodes into a cacophony of electronic noise. It’s like the thought of a futuristic musicalutopia, but with a seventies view point stylistically.
There are times when Dune Sea are comparable to several of the NWOBHM bands, there are touches of Hawkwind and early Saxon especially, and even some late seventies Iron Maiden in the mix for good measure. This is most noticeable with the Steve Harris trademark bass rumbles, this had me making an easy comparison straight away.
As I listen, it hits me that this is so much more than just a homage to the seventies sound wise, it’s more of an all-out rock extravaganza, and once I get this idea in my head, it’s all I can think about. All ten tracks are brilliantly concocted, but I’m personally taken with Shaman and Sarlaac, both of which really resonate with me, and I think it’s because it has that Black Mountain feel about them, and I love a bit of Black Mountain.
As on several tracks, but especially on track eight, Oracle, at times it’s crushingly heavy, not so much in a powerful way, but sonically. It reminds me of all the music from my formative years, especially within the rock genre, and although I tend to find a lot of the older music stale, dated and even quite cheesy at times, with Dune Sea there just isn’t that feeling at all.
All in all, I come away from my half an hour spent with Dune Sea, richer, warmer, and definitely fuzzier. If you’re looking for something that feels very seventies, like a classic, then this is where you need to be aiming, you won’t regret it. Grab your space suit, put on Moons Of Uranus, and set the volume to warp speed… journey well space traveller…
Scribed by: Lee Beamish