Overall Score: 9/10 Classic Desert Vibes : 9/10 Classic vs Whacky ratio: 9/10 Delicious Cover Art: 9/10 Pros: Totally... is what we dreamt of when this band was put together Cons: None, really. They've delivered what we want!
Hot off the back of last years debut album, Stöner are back with another meaty offering of desert rock. Totally… sees forefathers of fuzz; Brant Bjork, Nick Oliveri and Ryan Gut, return with another greasy slice of stoner-fuzz blues.
The aforementioned debut, Stoners Rule, hit the shelves less than a year ago after the band introduced themselves via the Live in the Mojave Desert series of streams. After a lot of high expectations, well… it fell a little flat. The great news is that Totally… is better. Much better, in fact. This ticks all the boxes and much more for fans of desert rock rumblings and stoner stuff. There’s a giant pepperoni pizza on the cover too. Hmm, stoners and pizzas eh?
It won’t take too long to realise we are onto a winner with Totally… Opening track Party March is instantly more exciting than anything from the debut record. From the glam-metal roar of “PARTY”, the off-kilter stomping beat to the classic fuzzy riffs and guitar solo, it all falls together perfectly. A Million Beers is more of a straight-forward driving rock tune but the new-found impetus coupled with the carnival atmosphere of the track means it’s another song that really hits the sweet spot. In fact, there aren’t any tracks that miss the target. Stöner have managed to cover a much wider breadth of sound on Totally…
Where the first album sounded, for the most part, like a Brant Bjork solo album, Totally… seems to be more of a team effort. There’s certainly a little more insanity courtesy of Nick Oliveri scattered around here and there. The band seem to have found a great balance between churning out classic sounding desert rock while adding in some much-appreciated fun and attitude.
Space Dude & The Burn is a prime example of this willingness to diversify. A glorious eight-minute trek through some very golden Kyuss-style riffs, but with sudden changes of pace and style that adds a Stöner party vibe to proceedings. They seem to have established their own sound here as band. Everything has clicked nicely together for Totally…
The half way mark unveils Stoner Theme which is quite simply bonkers and yet further proof that Stoner aren’t taking themselves too seriously this time around. Turn It Around Now is a smooth number typical of Bjork‘s recent solo work, but maybe has a little more dirt under the fingernails than his usual output. Album closer American Sage is another dirty and slow bluesy number which rounds off a beauty of an album.
So, we may have been underwhelmed by Stöner‘s first LP, but these dusty old desert rockers have come back with something pretty special for album number two. Totally… treads the line between giving stoner rock fans those essential big puthering riffs and grooves while adding a little stamp of personality and fun to proceedings. This separates them from the never-ending conveyor of identikit bands in this crowded scene and rightly elevates them up there as kings of the desert.
Totally… releases on May 6 via Heavy Psych Sounds.