Review Summary: If Elvis was still alive, he would play desert rock.
Chilean musician Alain Johannes is an unsung hero of contemporary rock. Producing many renowned records during the last fifteen years, the multi-instrumentalist surely knows the ins and outs of the business. Better still, given his collaboration with Josh Homme on various projects he's ideally suited for handling the production duties for heavy rock releases. The third album of French outfit Loading Data bears his unmistakable stamp. Double Disco Animal Style
effectively expands on the direction taken six years ago by the band's previous full-length, Rodeo Ghettoblaster
. This is still groove-laden heavy rock, yet Johaness augments the act's sound with tenebrous desert rock undertones. The effects are distinctive and largely unpredictable.
Nearly every song is shrewdly built on a robotic groove that provides a backdrop for Patrón's crooning vocals. His delivery, which often resembles Elvis Presley in its tone, works surprisingly well with dense desert rock generating slightly surreal, uniquely dark vibe. Add atonal guitar lines and immaculate drums to the mix, and you're left with such wicked jams as unhinged “Teeth And Tongue” and rampageous “Round And Round.” The supremely neurotic atmosphere is on occasion incited by creepy-sounding keys that make “Butterfly Shelf” akin to an old horror movie soundtrack before it unexpectedly delves into a shoegaze territory. The album is not all doom and gloom though. “Hanging Low” serves as a crushing party rocker that sees Nick Oliveri contributing his signature no-frills vocals known from Queens Of The Stone Age, while “I'm Not Gonna Take It” feels like a joyous stab at vaudeville music that reeks of unadulterated fun.
Moreover, the foursome does an excellent job in delivering more straightforward heavy rock tunes which still retain a decent level of eccentricity. “So High” is the real highlight with its laid-back passages devolving into a whimsical interplay between guitar riffs and drums. Elsewhere, “Gift” sports a vintage, danceable groove juxtaposed with a dissonant guitar solo to refreshing effect. The only drawback of the record is its lack of consistency though. The album ends on a disappointingly low note with its last two tracks. The industrial stomp of “On My Heart” should be trimmed down because it gets mind-numbingly repetitive halfway through its excessive running time, whereas “Palinka” is a silly parody of Elvis' ballads and thus feels fairly redundant amid boisterous heavy rock tunes.
Unlike many stoner rock releases which tend to revolve solely around massive riffs and grooves, Double Disco Animal Style
is also very much about the desert mood most tracks capture with admirable expertise and finesse. Just like its loony title suggests, the album's selling point lies in its adventurous, often bizarre nature. This deranged ride may not always be taken seriously, but it's a blast nonetheless.