DANAVA
"Danava"

(Kemado)

01. By the Mark
02. Eyes In Disguise
03. Quiet Babies Astray In a Manger
04. Longdance
05. Maudie Shook

RATING: 6.5/10

There's no denying that, on several blissful occasions, psychedelic proto-metal nutters DANAVA channel the loose, loopy sinister vibe of "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and the drug-shoveling mindmelt of prime HAWKWIND. The whole thing is as off the rails and lunatic as you'd expect from a bunch of wild-eyed, badly-coiffed space cadets with names like Dusty Sparkles and Buck Rothy and a penchant for synthesizer effects and chord progressions right out of '70s sci-fi soundtracks.

These five long, loping, meandering tracks seem to have been born of endless lava-lamp-lit jam sessions, the songs shambling off into different directions seemingly at random, ending up cooler in total than the sum of their parts. The vibe is there, even when it starts to sound like DANAVA are repeating themselves from song to song, and the noodly outer-space riffs and clattering drums begin to seem more threadbare than clever. The point doesn't seem to be creating memorable songs, or standout riffs, or anything else but distilling the look of a blacklight poster into the sound coming out of the speakers. It's way more style than substance, but the style is done so… well… stylishly, it's easy to forgive.

For as out-there as they seem when you first drop the needle on DANAVA, there's not much else to "get" once you put the basic SABBATH-meets-HAWKWIND comparison together in your head. It's cool, kitschy fun without a lot of staying power, and it's a good gateway drug for younger heads who need to learn about the real thing, and it's a harmless good time for the 3am bongs-and-burritos set. Who knows where DANAVA will end up from here? The band is already hinting at a reinvention next time around, and this psychedelic pastiche could well serve as a launching pad to just about anywhere. A band to watch.

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