Say Psych: Album Review: Ouzo Bazooka – Transporter

Ouzo Bazooka, the undisputed champions of the middle eastern psych rock scene return with Transporter, their third album to date which has been released on Stolen Body Records today. After 2 years trotting the globe and playing over 150 live shows they returned to the studio a tight knot radiating with ideas and inspiration to create what just might be their most cohesive work to date.

Suspiciously smelling like a mix of prohibited substances and powerful home brewed potions, Transporter manages to effortlessly be a lot of things, that in a similar universe, contradict each other: it is psychedelic, but accessible. It is adventurous and creatively free spirited, but also filled with anthems waiting to be discovered. The sound is recognisable, but simultaneously an exception and expansion of the band’s creative palette. Stylistically the album can be weighed for the sum of its parts; it is indebted to the Anatolian psych rock legends of the 70’s, crossbreeding with surf rock’s wildest moments and the sounds of the middle eastern ecosystem it sprang up from. There is a sense of discovery when listening to the album unfold. It channels humid back alleys and smokey dark clubs. Like gaining a backdoor VIP entrance to a forbidden, sweaty fuzz party where veils are removed, vices are tested and secret desires fulfilled. Filled with hidden jewels, the album is fun and surprisingly positive despite the density and weight of its grooves. First and foremost, it is a monument in Ouzo Bazooka’s sonic journey and an epic new chapter in the band’s story.

Opener ‘It’s A Sin’ is a buoyant number from the off with smatterings of their Eastern roots intertwined with a surf rock riff creating a heady mixture of sounds that somehow work in perfect harmony. ‘Latest News’ on the other hand wears its Arabian influences right on its sleeve with the Eastern instrumentation leading the track throughout. The lyrics are evocative and show that this band are aware of what’s going on around them and how to present this in their music. ‘Space Camel’ would be the perfect soundtrack to any voyage, but if it’s some desert soul searching you’re after, look no further for the perfect tune. It’s a song of two halves with a slow, plodding introduction that kicks the track into action. Think Hawkwind meets Omar Souleyman. ‘Trip Train’ changes tact ever so slightly, offering a pacey purely psychedelic vibe that could have come straight from the 70s.

‘Killing Me’ reverts to the Arabian nights theme, with interesting instruments leading an organ riff heavy track with a haunting vocal melody weaving through. ‘Relax’ is probably the most complex track on the album, with so much going on that it takes a few listens to digest everything that’s going on every listen making this track more special. ‘Sleep Walk’ has an added female vocal and a The Doors-esq organ riff whilst ‘Revolution Eyes’ has a belly dance rhythm and a clever play on words. ‘Coming From The Wild’ and ‘Falling’ fall in the dreamscape camp, with playful melodies that see the album to a close with a swoon.

Ouzo Bazooka aren’t your average band, and they sound they produce is anything but average. Their unique blend of Eastern influences with Western riffs and production style has cemented their place as the quintessential middle east psych band and Transporter, with its alternating currents of contrasting sound will only enhance their reputation.

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