The Dharma Violets – “Random Transmissions” (self-released 2015, CD/DL)

The Dharma Violets are a Cardiff, Wales based dual guitar, vocals, bass, drums, keys, synths, organ, piano quintet who play a blend of Psychedelic Pop and spacey Rock ‘n’ Roll. Random Transmissions is their debut album.

I like the Pop-Psych meets Psychedelic slow-core vibe of opening track Hypnotonic Wave. The vocals are damn good and singer/guitarist Nathan Hazell could easily have paired himself up with something on the more jangly side. But not here… we’ve got floatingly assertive Psych guitars and fun spaced out effects that rock hard yet drift along on a tasty wave of hypnotically catchy melody. I like the combination of melodic song and Psychedelic aggression. Take A Look From The Inside has an equally stick-in-yer-craw melody and even gets downright dancey Rock ‘n’ Roll. Nice touch on the horn section embellishment, underlying trip guitar and cool Kosmiche keyboard lines. I really dig the sumptuous blend of wall-of-sound guitars and trance inducing drift on Butterfly In A Hurricane. The Rock ‘n’ Roll energy level gets kicked up a few notches on Meet Me In The Shadows, with crunchy guitars and spacey keys that inject an interstellar dance party vibe. Awake For A Reason goes even deeper into space, being an intense slab of Eastern flavored Pop-Psych inflected mysticism with a dose of Space-Prog keys for extra measure. The melodic rocking intensity continues on the spaced out Lights On, Nobody Home. As Far As The Eye Can See is the hit single of the set, bringing to mind a seductive marriage of Dream-Pop and 60s Bubblegum. Even the more… dare I say… Alt-Rock songs like Onwards and Upwards and Haywire include Proggy keys and freaky alien effects.

These guys can really write a song, with many of the tunes having a feels like I’ve known them all my life quality on the first spin. The Dharma Violets are a Pop band at heart, and don’t seem to be aiming purely for the Psych audience, but the various Psychedelic, Kosmiche and Prog keyboard elements provide lots for the Space/Psych crowd to enjoy and give the songs a sense of creative adventure without being in any way retro.

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Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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