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REVIEW: DESERT SESSIONS VOL 11 & 12

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DESERT SESSIONS

VOLS. 11 & 12

(Matador)

John Homme and all-star guests rip riot.

★★★☆☆

16 years on from the last volume, Josh Homme and a fresh group of artists have recorded 8 inspired experimental tracks in the Cali desert including Carla Azar, Matt Berry, Les Claypool, Billy Gibbons, Mike Kerr, Stella Mozgawa, and Jake Shears. The stillness of the desert plus a few tequilas proves to be very inspiring to musicians keen to fill the silence with rock ‘n’ roll.

Throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s Josh Homme busied himself by recording songs with fellow musicians from Palm Desert, his home town. The California music scene produced volumes of tracks labelled ‘Desert Sessions’ which were released periodically as EPs. Ten came out between 1997 and 2003 when the project was shelved. Sixteen years later, we finally have volumes 11 and 12 with comedian Matt Berry and Royal Blood’s Mike Kerr joining the ranks alongside the Queens of the Stoneage frontman and Eagles of Death Metal drummer.

It opens with synth laden ‘Move Together’ and followed up by garage rock ‘Noses In Roses, Forever’. ‘Far East for the Trees’ sees Homme return to his distinctive stoner rock sound.

Lead singer Libby Grave brings a measured new tone to Hommes’ production influence on ‘If You Run’.  Vol. 12 opens with ‘Crucifire’, a heavy blues rock tune reminiscent of The White Stripes sung by Kerr. ‘Chic Tweetz’ is a comedy tune by Matt. Joshua Tree was shaken when the crew recorded eight new songs over five days. The result is a rootsy, psychedelic, analogue album to get lost in for fans of The Grateful Dead and Can.

Paula Frost

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