Year Long Disaster - 'Black Magic ; All Mysteries Revealed' (Volcom Entertainment) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Matt Phelps   
Tuesday, 09 March 2010 09:10

yearlongcdRewind to 2003 and emerging from a quick stint in rehab together are Daniel Davies (vocals/guitar) and Richie Mullins (bass) of Karma To Burn fame. Hooking up with Third Eye Blind drummer Brad Hargeaves, the trio start jamming together under the moniker Year Long Disaster. Fast forward a few years and 2007 sees them signing with Volcom Entertainment ahead of the release of their self titled debut album. Up to date in 2010 and album number 2 is about to open a new book of spells for the band entitled 'Black Magic; All Mysteries Revealed'.

The instantly likeable rock radio appeal of 'Show Me Your Teeth' could easily have been cast from the simplistic Nickelback mould. There's a definate Kroegerism about Daniel Davies's opening vocals that gives the first real track of the album (there's a pointless 1 minute intro track) a certain warmth of familiarity to it. While at other times there's an almost intimate Led Zep feel, with the acoustic charm of 'Seven Of Swords' offering a lesson in Jimmy Page tribute techniques and where Davies's voice has lost most of its opening rasp to the point of virutally mimicking a mellow Robert Plant. Easy to see where the influences lay.

Mainly driven forward by a guitar sound full of more crunch than a bowl full of nut based cornflakes the album progresses with very little in terms of musical surprises and by large sticks faithfully to a swaggering Seventies style, tinted slightly with the more inspired moments of 'Strays' era Jane's Addiction perhaps. Reaching the pinnacle of creativity mid-way through with the six minute plus grand funk of 'Sparrow Hill', it's not a sudden drop-off afterwards but a down hill journey all the same to reach the end of the album. With the second half it is indeed more of the same but with very little difference. Harbouring no real change of pace aside from the trippy 'Foggy Bottom', it's a safe glide home for an album devoid of any "big hits", yet one that's reliant on the self confident approach of a band knowing just what it is they want to deliver.

Production duties are at the hands of Nick Raskulinecz, most well known for his work on Foo Fighters' 'One By One' and 'In Your Honour' albums. He's also worked with a wide range of artists from Alice In Chains to Shadows Fall, taking in Rush along the way, which helps immeasurably towards making 'Black Magic; blah blah blah' achieve the taste of a full bodied cocktail of rock 'n' roll flavours both past and present.

Whilst this is in no way an all out stoner album I am left with the feeling that it would best be enjoyed by people who own at least one lava lamp and indulge in the odd "medicinal" cigarette.