There’s a general hard on for “retro” in the world today. Retro technology, Retro clothing, Retro attitudes to other cultures, we’re well and truly stuck in a time warp and what was in, then out, is now back in again.
Texas denizens Sweat Lodge are yet another new band who sound anything but new, and kicking off in a wall of distorted, stoned fuzz their debut album Talismana will be in the sweaty palms of stoners everywhere soon.
The thing is, though, at first encounter it’d be easy to dismiss Sweat Lodge as just another bunch of bloody hippies stuck in the psychedelic 60’s but there’s something here that doesn’t entirely fit.. is that a groove that bubbles to the forefront from time to time, an infusion of something more modern?
Yes, yes I do believe it is.
This really is a splendid, proper old-style Rock’n’Roll album, but the “old” but there are places where the “old” mostly just a veneer, like one of those CD players you get that are disguised as a Queen Anne drinks cabinet. Scratch beneath the surface and there is some razor sharp riffage and neat songwriting at play here, although I’m pretty sure it’s contractual that they have to get the phrase “astral plane” in somewhere. Musically Sweat Lodge can more than hold their own against the giants of the stoner-sludge-rock’n’roll-whatever scene such as Orange Goblin and St. Vitus.
Yep, it’s that good.
Even when proceedings threaten to veer off into some stylistic psychedelic poppy field they never get too far out, or too far up their own arse. This is an album for the masses, not just for two bearded men and a stoned dog in a smoke filled bedroom.
For sure Sweat Lodge have listened to a lot of Sabbath, a lot of Zepplin and a lot of Hawkwind, but they can’t quite hide the fact they’ve listened to a lot of other stuff too and it’s the delicate infusion of that “other stuff” that lifts Talismana way above the (black) masses.
Bonus point for inventing the word “Tramplifier” too !!