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Switch off your lights, lap up the darkness and listen to Go Wild by The Dead Heir

The Dead Heir garage rock

Shut off your bedroom lights, burn a candle, put some headphones on and listen to Go Wild, the new EP from The Dead Heir. It’s some advice I got from reading a review of the first Horrors record Strange House; and although the EP’s title may dictate otherwise, I guarantee this is the best way to listen to this little five track nugget.

The Dead Heir Go Wild

Need something to do when you’re insomnia kicks in later tonight? Sit in semi darkness and open your eyes to the sonic tapestry that is Go Wild from The Dead Heir.

The Dead Heir are a wiry six piece from Melbourne and Go Wild is their second contribution to Australia’s ever-burgeoning pool of garage rock. Equal parts blistering garage, stomping stoner rock and 60s psych, the band are a welcome change from the deluge of power chord purveyors that seem to pop up like angry pimples every second week.

While clocking in at only five tracks Go Wild shifts and whips between a ocean of textures, however it never strays too far from it’s essence. Go Wild is a rock ‘n’ roll record, there’s no denying it, but it picks at the musical ghosts of decades past, from early purveyors of garage rock like The Sonics to more modern visionaries like The Flaming Lips. That being said Go Wild isn’t breaking any sonic boundaries, and for many this is a must, but the band know what has worked in the past, and they are good songwriters, and sometimes that’s all you need.

Wolves At My Door thumps away with druggy dissonance, all swirling guitars and distorted chanting vocals. There’s a certain menace throughout Go Wild which seems to seep from the band’s name, settling over their sonic output like a noxious gas. Death is a raucous opener; there is a definite nod to 60s revivalists like The Horrors (in their early days) with the track’s haunting synth lines looming overhead, or the Brian Jonestown Massacre with it’s wonderful shredding lo-fi undertones.

Hand shifts everything down a gear with a mellower soundscape. It’s pretty in a nightmarish way, making you feel relaxed and uncomfortable at the same time. The bass line traverses a sparse drumbeat while warbling guitars and a dulcet organ snake their way around the rather deadpan vocals. It’s a departure from The Dead Heir’s usual formula, one that breathes new life into the EP.

The stoner rock loops start to feel a little lethargic on Tusk, and although the vocals have some pretty nice Josh Homme inflections, in the end it falls a little flat. On the other hand, Rain uses repetition as the fountain for a flurry of hypnotic synth oscillations and haunting chamber chants before the track takes off into a magnificent Doors-esque tangent.

Now, turn the lights back on and re-enter the real world. Does it feel like everything just wrapped up all too quickly? That’s because Go Wild is a damn good EP. Even if parts dwell on insistent beats and zombie-like vocals, these moments tend to be laced with streaks of excellence. Surprisingly it’s the slower tracks on the EP that flourish the most, as the separate elements that each band member contributes are allowed the chance to breathe. Now, turn the lights back off and listen again.

Go Wild is out now on Bandcamp and vinyl via Psychic Ric Records.

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November 11, 2015

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