"American Sound Normal" (Deep Dive; 2005)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter


I had no idea what to expect when I started listening to Desert Sun's debut full-length CD "American Sound Normal." The cover artwork didn't really provide any clues except the molten yellow color against a dark background did suggest solar flares or something similar. The words 'desert' and 'sun' together also seemed to go in hand in hand with each other, but not really offering anything informative when taken at face value.

What is fairly obvious after the first 90 seconds of the first main song is that Desert Sun is basically a German version of Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age. Well, then I immediately recognized the congruence with the band's name and Kyuss' self-proclaimed description of their music as 'desert jams' and 'blues for the red sun.' It all seems so obvious now.

It seems appropriate, given the proceedings, to bring out the ol' slogan that 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.' Typically that slogan is blown away by what can only be called lack of creativity. That's not necessarily true here as Desert Sun seem awfully interested in propagating their own form of stoner rock rooted in the past with respect, but looking toward the future for inspiration. And I don't mean future in the sense that the music is modernized with synthesizers and studio tricks. I mean future in the sense that the band sees themselves creating music for a long time and despite playing within the narrow confines of a genre will still find room for growth and expression.

"American Sound Normal" is constructed with songs and instrumental pieces nearly alternating from track to track it makes for interesting listening that's for sure. In the end, though, the disc culminates in five straight songs of ever-increasing intensity and emotive power. The band does well by sustaining interest in the songs throughout, but the ending quintuplet of tracks is the real selling point with Desert Sun.

"American Sound Normal" was produced by Desert Sun. The production is nice and clear and lacks the heavy fuzziness that Kyuss (as well as QOTSA to some extent) and other stoner rock bands. I'll leave it up to you whether or not this is a good thing, but I for one don't think it's a detriment at all.

Desert Sun: Major on vocals, Schulse on guitar, Helfert on bass, and Ru on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 Oct 2022 15:00:07 -0400 .