Rating: 9/10

Phoenician Drive are the emerging talent from the Belgian scene, hailing from Brussels with their blend of oriental kraut suited perfectly to any psychedelic brain.

They meet at the crossroads of Middle Eastern, North African and Mediterranean musical traditions and add elements of psychedelia to create a unique style all of their own. The six piece are comprised of Valerian Meunier, Gaspard Vanardois, Diego Moscoso, Matthieu Peyraud, Martin Rault and Joaquin Bermudez. In the footsteps of earlier East-West musical blending such as Erkin Koray, Selda Bağcan and Orient Express but heavily influenced by the kraut rock genius of Neu! and Can, Phoenician Drive strive for hypnotic drone infused with oriental grooves.

Signed to EXAG Records and in partnership with Stolen Body Records, they have released their debut EP Two Coins which consists of two tracks and comes on limited edition hand numbered 10” clear red vinyl.

‘Two Coins for the Boatman’ is an intrinsically infused clash of cultures with tabla drumming, oud melodies before fuzz laden guitars resonate at the back. Vocals come in after some five minutes of sound, most of which sounds like it could have been pulled straight from a film score, or improvised on the spot – the musical complexities however suggest otherwise. The tempo slows to almost a halt after a while, with instruments dropping off and a descent into drone which proves hypnotic.

‘Fat Bill’ adds brass segments into the fray, and the melodic oriental percussion transports one right to the heart of the Marrakesh souk. A higher emphasis is based on vocals in this track, with two different tones competing for attention as they voice the same lyrics. The sheer volume of transcending from this track is mesmerising and it is impossible to not feel compelled to want to understand all that is going on. An increase in tempo has the effect of creating a struggle to draw a breath, largely due to the atonal vibes which are in parts difficult to listen to; a technique characteristic of Turkish folk. Vocal chanting is the final added element to see the track to conclusion.

Phoenician Drive have infused traditional folk song writing with modern psychedelia to create a heady mixture that is not for the faint hearted. That being said, this is something new and exciting to enter a scene that is rapidly becoming saturated and losing its defining properties. If you are looking for something a little different that pushes the boundaries of conventional sound – this is for you.

You can order the vinyl here: https://exagrecords.bigcartel.com/product/phoenician-drive-two-coins