Aside from having a name that makes me chuckle, GIANT DWARF were formed in Perth, Australia and comprise of Aaron Soppo (Vocals), Luke Drag (Drums and Percussion), S John Paterson (Bass), Rick (Guitar and Sitar) and Russ Tee (Guitar and Didgeridoo). Their members have played with such acts like Nick Oliver (QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE), 1000MODS and the Simpsons themed band, DR COLOSSUS. Their debut album is as if PINK FLOYD and MASTODON had a child.
The album opens with the track Golden Walrus, a groovy, heavy on the crust song that is fairly typical of the heavy psych and stoner rock genres. It slowly builds up to a modest guitar solo that winds its way towards the end of the track to lead into the next song Black Thumb. I really like this song, really like it. About halfway through it the tempo drops, not stereotypical metal-core speeds but enough to be noticeable. It then imperceptibly speeds up until it returns to the opening riff.
High Tide Blues has an interesting problem. It starts off almost struggling to get going and I don’t know whether this is a good thing or not. I previously praised a song for variation in speed, but I think the key difference was that I had something to compare it to. This track starts with the musical equivalent of “See…See Spot…See Spot…Run”. I’m not going to say that it’s musically incorrect or even that it’s bad but rather that a listener should be aware that for me the song rapidly improved towards the thirty second mark.
The Deluge is the
final offering on this release and I loved it. It’s punchy with ethereal vocals
drifting in between the melody lines and the beat. If you’re a modern OPETH fan, I’d really recommend this
track. The subtlety in Soppo’s voice
really works well here; he’s not going for the raw power that the guitars would
normally require but instead layering textures onto the rhythmic foundation.
I think that if GIANT DWARF ever wanted to get really weird then they would certainly have the ability to do so. I would like to see them completely untamed, but this album straddles an awkward place.
In their own words:
“From the isolated capital of Western Australia, Perth mates from previous bands and endeavors such as the devil rides out, wizard sleeve and loose unit obsessed with all things fuzzy/heavy/ psychey/droney/proggy and weird formed GIANT DWARF.”
They cite Mr. Bungle as an influence but I think that this is either informing their sound too much or just not enough. The release is far from bad and there are definite bits that I really enjoy but for now I’ll give it a 6/10 and order a copy to go back to.
Words: Jacob McCrone
Giant Dwarf will be out Friday via Sound Effect Records.