Not the kind of style of music one would come to associate with Norway, but the psychedelic/space rock trio Dune Sea has nailed the style. Led by Ole Nogva who began the project and then expanded with the addition of drummer Erik Bråten and subsequently bassist Petter Solvik Dahle, this nine-track album is out of this world.
The album opens with Pentobarbital and Ethanol, which begins with some trippy synth that fools you into thinking the song will be calm and relaxing but no. It then explodes into a no-nonsense crunchy guitar riff, paired with crashing drumbeats. The combination of this paired with the dreamy-sounding vocals and the occasional fluttery synth makes for a very strong start to the album. The chanting lyrics just repeat the song title, which took me a couple of listens to work out; after a quick search of Pentobarbital (hypnotic/sedative drug) I realised how fitting the title is for the tune.
Dune Sea has a very Black Sabbath-y vibe to it, that really heavy sound and classic sounding riff. The lyrics from what I can hear revolve around the theme of freedom, which becomes very clear with the freedom chant in the chorus.
A little more upbeat than previous songs, Future is comparatively fast-paced with guitar riffs that jump around and explosive drums. It isn’t very long either – at a bit over 2 minutes it hits you as a short-and-sweet kind of tune. This one hits the sci-fi theme for the album. Some eerie synth sounds echo throughout the background that fill it out and add that real spacey feel to it.
Morphine is about exactly what you think it’s about: morphine. The tune behind the lyrics is solid and relentless, and makes for a great driving track. Part way through the song the mood changes with the introduction of a spooky synth melody followed by a guitar riff change and robotic-sounding speech over the top.
Green begins with a very dynamic opening riff before getting stuck straight into a cool groove that would not be out of place in the ‘70s (and that’s a good thing!). Needless to say this song actually keeps you on your toes with different sections that are a stark contrast from each other yet simultaneously balance each other out. I think for the most part this track is emotionally uplifting and while you can groove to all the songs, with the combination of the guitar riffs and the drum style this one is a real mood-lifter. The song also rounds off nicely with a slow outro.
Following that is Astrodelic Breakdown, which opens with a space-y synth whirl that then breaks into the main rhythm. It really screams space, especially with the robotic sounding voice filter. The drum-less verses also add an ominous mood, but it feels resolved once the explosive choruses hit.
Two-thirds of the way through now and I can hear a Queens Of The Stone Age influence in Bounty Hunter (but a little slower paced I think). The background synth adds an extra layer to this song and that together with the pace and the lyrics sent my imagination straight to a chase scene. The lyrics mention collecting a reward and hunting someone down; “Never rest until the prey is taken” sung with that echoing tone I feel like the voice is all around and I’ve become the ‘bounty’ so to speak.
Awake opens with some whirly guitar chords and modulated synths. The voice filter for this song is way out of this world! It is also a lot calmer to listen to than the previous song. The relaxing chord progressions continue throughout the song, Towards the end there are some cool fluttering synths that work alongside the lead guitar part.
For the final track on the album, Cosmic Playground opens with an excitement-building guitar intro. The verses have a droning sort of tone to them, which balances nicely with the in-between parts whose guitar riff style sounds oddly familiar yet I can’t quite place it. Finishing off the song is a nice clean and dreamy guitar chord progression.
Overall I think Dune Sea made a fantastic album; they really captured the essence of the genres they encompass.
Buy the yellow vinyl HERE!