Hardcore punk and Desert Rock are not phrases that you would normally put together, a bit like chalk and cheese, the ferocious energy of hardcore punk and the lethargic drawl of Desert Rock don’t seem natural bedfellows so when I got the debut EP, Sick Of It from Tucson Arizona trio Dirty Magic who proclaim to blend the two genres I was understandably sceptical.
That scepticism was blown away in just under two and a half minutes, or the length of first track, the eponymous Sick Of It which apart from an all-too-brief breakdown midway through that hints at desert rock this was frantic, riff-tastic speed punk that sounded like a mix of Cerebral Ballzy with an undercurrent of sleazy Motorhead. It really is as good as that sounds.
Slower, but no less impactful, Take Shelter follows and has more of a garage rock/punk feel as Jak (bass guitar) takes over lead vocals. It’s got a dirty, fuzzy groove that evokes visions of dingy, smoky clubs. With all three members of the band providing vocals the mix of styles feels very natural and distinct across the EP.
The desert rock influence is all over Prison Bound whose country tinged intro transports you into the middle of the desert, as an acoustic guitar gently strums along before the punk roars back and we go from laid back to full throttle in about thirty seconds of raucous energy.
Life Or Death is my least favourite track here as it never settles into a groove, with constant rhythm changes disrupting the flow of the song. There are moments of clarity that shine through but ultimately it disappoints compared to the rest of the EP.
The final track, Hey Girl quickly wipes away the memory of Life Or Death. Similar to Prison Bound, it starts gently and sounds like the greatest collaboration of Johnny Cash/Danzig/The Doors ever as the crooned vocals of Evan (Drums) drift over desert winds into your ear. That’s not even the best bit of the song as after a minute or two the riffs kick in and Mike (Guitar) sings the verses with added urgency that refuses to let go as it shakes, rattles and rolls across their musical landscape.
Original, cool and dangerous, this EP is the perfect embodiment of hardcore punk and desert rock.