This sound is not brand new, not anymore. Last year, Aussie psychedelic rock band King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard treated us with the first of five albums in a year: Flying Microtonal Banana. The album used quarter-tone instruments in the band’s own blend of surf, psych, and prog rock. Although the effort was a bit hit and miss, it was interesting and showed great potential for this sort of “desert surf” rock sound.
Enter Ouzo Bazooka, and their latest album, Songs from 1001 Nights. While not their first release, it seems to be the only one using microtonal tunings. To be perfectly honest, this album sounds eerily alike to King Gizzard’s, albeit much less repetitive and psychedelic. On the other hand, it’s much shorter too, so, it would have been pretty hard to be as repetitive in an EP format. As such, the compositions on Songs from 1001 Nights are less of a chore to listen through, and feel more like vintage surf rock with Middle-Eastern roots.
I feel Songs from 1001 Nights is a more successful take on what King Gizzard attempted with Flying Microtonal Banana, even if the use of traditional instruments is cruelly lacking. As a desert surf rock release, it stands tall among the few examples that I know of, and I encourage you to give it a listen or two!