The legacy of Kyuss has stretched far and wide, their vast, sun-baked riffery touching the hearts and minds of millions across the globe. Switzerland’s Feuerzeug are evidently no stranger to the desert rock sound, and their second record finds them tuning down and grooving along with a righteous enthusiasm for their craft, even if their imagination doesn’t quite match up to their energy levels.
There are some fine riffs on offer here, with ‘Landkreuzer’ churning out a number of belters that sound like Queens Of The Stone Age strung out on bath salts and ‘Evel Knievel Has Kissed the Devil’ tucking into a funky little groove that brings to mind Brant Bjork’s more laidback excursions. The drummer’s tight double kick fills accentuate the stoner rock riffs nicely, making them seem fresh and energetic. The vocalist almost sounds like Ingmar from Beehoover attempting his best John Garcia impression over a slightly temperamental phone line. He does a good job for the most part, despite a few slightly too saccharine choruses rearing their heads from time to time.
Unfortunately the band aren’t able to maintain their momentum throughout the entire album, and seeing as the record stands at a good 70 minutes it feels as though they should have exercised a bit more quality control. There are a couple of clichéd moments that sound a little tired, like the not-as-adrenalin-pumping-as-it-wants-to-be pseudo raucousness of ‘Nitroghostcar’, but for every dud they throw out, the band manage to win back the listener’s favour with some muscular fuzz worship and, towards the latter half of the record, more spacious and colourful jams (check out the angular, Soundgarden-esque riffs and extended psychedelic coda in the album’s lengthy centrepiece ‘Release The Kraken’). It’s here where the band really shine, with the hazy climax of ‘Kometa’ standing tall as a firm highlight.
An earnest combination of QOTSA riffery with Fu Manchu-style grooves and the occasional Kyuss psych session, ‘Dead Wahines and Tsunamis’ is a record that’s impossible to dislike but hard to love. Desert rock junkies will have a blast cranking this up with some beers and buds during BBQ season, but the band have some work to do before they’re able to scale the same transcendental heights as their idols. On the basis of this album though, they’re certainly on the right path.
- words by Kez Whelan -