Okay. Fact is this: There was just about no way I was going to approach this album with anything even closely resembling objectivity after a first listen confirmed the track “King Platypus” was indeed about what the title advertised. So Dali’s Llama is a desert rock trio from Palm Springs produced by Scott Reeder (The Obsessed, Kyuss, Goatsnake, etc.) who are actually singing about protecting the habitat of wild platipi? “Leave king platypus alone.” Fuckin’ sold — what else ya got?
As the back cover of Dali’s Llama‘s Full on Dunes (Dali’s Llama Records), shown right, demonstrates, the band’s second album is almost entirely free of pretense. Zach and Erica Huskey (guitar/vocals and bass, respectively) and Jeff Howe (drums) rock with a “What you see is what you get” mentality, setting an expectation for high-end desert/stoner grooves and making good across the nine tracks that comprise the offering. There are elements of post-punk, but the simplicity of the band’s driving, groove-centric scope is the factor that carries the all-endearing approach across so well.
Easily memorable cuts like “Floating” and “Desert Dogs” — the latter featuring a Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson) guitar and spoken word contribution — epitomize the vibe that pervades throughout Full on Dunes — and that is one of a band simply having a good time with their friends. Alongside Lalli and Reeder, who in addition to producing guests on bass for the anti-establishment “Can’t Catch Me” and the purely desert catchy “Floating,” visitations from Joe Dillon (Hot Beat Pussy Fiend) and Capt. Sean Wheeler (Throw Rag, Sun Trash) assist in conveying a laid back, anything-goes feel, as much manifest in the music as anything else.
It is a casual record, clearly meant to be experienced on that level, and so I will spare the excessive description. Suffice it to say that Full on Dunes, recorded over four days May 2-6, 2008, successfully builds atop the rudimentary desert rock groundwork it lays, not innovating so much as pursuing a well-trodden path with deeper footprints. For the Fu Manchu fuzz fan there is closer “Aqua-Fuzz” (seriously, it’s all pretty up front), and for the more melancholy Orquesta del Desierto aficionado, there’s the acoustic John Lee Hooker-styled “Cheap and Portable.” As the album centerpiece, this track portends the satisfying structural gameyness that riffy, longest cut “Floating” delivers, and is affirmed by the laser-fied roots aridity of “Full On.”
Dali’s Llama could hardly be called innovators, but the true desert scene could hardly exist in 2009 without them. Likewise, Full on Dunes doesn’t push the limits of what desert rock conveys, but, taken as is, it should satisfy any willing devotee seeking something comfortable but new. They may not be the ones to push the genre headfirst into its next generation, but they’re definitely helping to bridge the gap. And hey man, leave king platypus alone. It doesn’t get much more charming than that.
Tags: Bands who are totally unpretensious, Dali's Llama, Desert Rock, Scott Reeder