Say Psych: Album Review: The 99 Degree – Boot Hill Surf Club EP

Rating: 7/10

The 99 Degree have emerged from the ever expanding underground Manchester music scene, peddling a unique blend of spaghetti western inspired, surf infused psychedelia. Having garnered quite a following from their formidable live performances, they have released their debut EP Boot Hill Surf Club.

Recorded at Vibe Studios, Manchester, the four track offering starts with ‘The Banshee’, a fearsome guitar opening leads to a cataclysm of sounds competing for attention. Vocalist Joe Sartini draws attention with his unique drawled tones rising above a poignant rhythm section. ‘The Ballad of Henry Newton Brown’ produces a sound that Ennio Morricone would be proud to include in one of his film scores with harmonic guitar interplay and chorused vocals. The guitar solo of Phil Turner has the familiar twang associated with the spaghetti western and the overall style and production of the track sound like something straight from the mid 1960s – a trait that is certainly not accidental.

‘Losing My Mind’ is a popular track from their live set with its throbbing tempo courtesy of an empowered rhythm section provided by bassist Paul Featherstone and drummer Craig Trickett. The playful nature of the vocals and their interaction with a strong guitar riff make this a track that gets stuck in your head and will not leave. ‘The Pusher’ concludes with its drawn out vocals, plucked guitar riff and plodding tempo, all familiar elements to any Mediterranean folk piece. All this before the track races to a loud and brash segment, before mellowing with maniacal laughter.

The 99 Degree will certainly not be to everyone’s taste, but in a musical scene rapidly becoming saturated with the same, they unashamedly stand out from the crowd, unafraid to make their mark and produce music they are clearly passionate about.

Available on Spotify and iTunes now.

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