Desert Heat – Cat Mask at Huggie Temple

July 15, 2013

Here it is, the first official release from Desert Heat. The wait is over, we don’t have to be confined to watching grainy YouTube footage (see below) of their live performances anymore. Maybe that was just me, maybe not. Yet there does seem to be a lot of anticipation for debut release from the trio consisting of Steve Gunn, John Truscinski and Cian Nugent. I remember seeing them at TUSK festival 2012 and feeling blown away by them, particularly their rendition of the Velvet Underground’s ‘Oh! Sweet Nuthin’.

I’ve had the chance to listen to Cat Mask at Huggie Temple and it’s a great debut. Three unique styles are brought together, presenting us with a tight, yet free forming sound. Lengthy guitar lines intermingle to conjure up images of a road trip through the American outback, hinting both the free nature of the journey and the solitude of life on the road. The two halves of the record feel like a representation of two different moods. The first side shows the three musicians starting out together, exploring each others playing musical styles and trying to work together to create a new sound.

The second side, however, feels like they’ve become acustomed to eachother, and they can now begin to delve deeper into the music and really create something with a strong, intimate feel. Starting as a mere murmur, Chimay Blues manages to gradually builds pace, moving through a wilderness that is sparse and desolate. It’s more akin to Nugents ‘Doubles’ in mood than anything else. That’s what I was looking forward to from the trio. I want to hear sublime guitar lines that feel both full yet sporadic. Chimay Blues manages to convey so much feeling and emotion while doing it without feeling over the top.

I’d definitely recommend getting a listen to this if you can. I’m hoping there’s more in the works as I’m interested to see where they can take their sound.

Cat Mask at Huggie Temple is out on MIE records on 12th August 2013. MIE, as a label, is just getting better and better. Some excellent releases coming from them and again, I’m excited to see what else is coming in the future. Keep you eyes on Desert Heat and MIE.

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