Personnel: Dom Mariani, Greg Hitchcock (vocals, guitar); Warren Hall (drums).
Audio Mixer: James Newhouse.
Recording information: Electric City; Greg's Hacienda; Kingdom Studios.
Illustrator: Joshua Marc Levy.
Australians are a people who traditionally prefer their rock & roll hearty and full-bodied, and Datura4, a new combo featuring several veterans of the Aussie rock scene, certainly seem to bear this out. On their debut album, 2015's Demon Blues, Datura4 reel off a broad range of stylistic influences that almost entirely reach back to hard and heavy sounds that enjoyed their heyday before 1974 -- high-swagger boogie and blues-rock, psychedelic guitar exploration, simple first-generation hard rock, and just the slightest dash of garage rock sneer and fuzz for flavoring. Given the history of the guys on board -- guitarist and lead singer Dom Mariani was a founding member of the Stems, guitarist Greg Hitchcock worked with You Am I and the New Christs, bassist Stu Loasby was in Ripples Souls, and Warren Hall played drums with the Drones -- one would certainly expect Datura4 to rock hard, and they do. But unlike a lot of bands with a taste for vintage heavy sounds, Datura4 also know when to apply a light touch, and the greasy slink of "Another Planet" and the stretched-out jamming on "Love to Burn" are the work of a band that's learned something about dynamics, with players who can turn it up or dial it back as the circumstances dictate. But even when Hitchcock is surveying the universe on the more psych-leaning tunes, Datura4 know how to get to the point, and the jams manage to maintain a healthy focus while rockers like "Journey Home," "Out with the Tide," and the title tune are dirty-denim rockers that get the job done with plenty of attitude and not too much fuss. If Datura4 could stand to work on their songwriting -- their melodies are good, but lyrically this doesn't break any sort of ground -- the band is tight and knows how to deliver, and if you're looking for some kicks circa 1970, Demon Blues serves up big portions without a lot of filler. ~ Mark Deming