Desert Sands is the project of musician Mark Walker and last week he released his debut EP The Ascent on A Recordings.
Walker started writing and recording the music of Desert Sands whilst drumming in bands in London, all the while working on playing the other band members’ instruments himself. Wanting to experiment with a more expansive and groove-oriented approach, he began channelling the guitar sounds of bands like Wooden Shjips, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dead Meadow, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and incorporating older influences like CAN.
“I wanted the songs to have a hypnotic groove, something that felt like it was really churning, and then add layers of guitars to give it that wall of sound effect,” says Walker. “For the lyrics I hit upon the idea of questioning the existence of God, which then became travelling through space to meet God, before finally becoming God… something suitably out there,” he says with a wry smile. Walker further honed the songs live with bassist Louis Kinder and drummer Jonathan Walker. The band name was taken from a lyric in the song ‘Spoonful’ by Howlin’ Wolf.
The three tracks amount to just under 30 minutes, with the opener, ‘Are You There’, offering up some weighty guitar riffs, laden with delay before haunting reverberating vocals come into play. You can hear the BRMC influences in the track and fans of the band will enjoy this. As it continues it develops into a space rock inspired entity that takes on a life of its own. ‘Head Towards the Light’ continues in much the same way, adding depth its predecessor with a catchy countenance and intriguing guitar melodies which hypnotise with ease. ‘Yahweh’ has a delicate intermission which adds something a little different and shows the musical skill at hand.
The EP is well composed and flows, just like the gentle movement of it namesake. This is the type of music that you’d love to see live and lose yourself in it.