Sultan Batherty - Sultan Bathery (Slovenly)
You have to love a backstory that goes like this: Three Italian punks land in the holiday town of choice for India’s Silicon Valley set, get ripped on illicit substances, munch out on flamethrower hot curries and strike out with the local chicks. They fly home to Europe, claiming the town’s name for their band and (allegedly) swiping some exotic musical influences.
“Swamp and Slums” is the catchcry for Sultan Bathery, whose debut album channels reverb-soaked, twangy guitar and fuzzboxes crossed it with the strains of psychedelic, freakbeat and garage-pop. Like share-house occupants in the grips of a Peroni, garlic and oregano hangover, they sound like last night’s pizza smells after it’s been left out of the fridge a few hours too long on a hot summer Saturday.
Proving that Slovenly Records doesn’t just do lo-fi skronk, Sultan Batthery bounces all over the map over these dozen songs, most of them reeking of garage goodness. From the chiming grunt rock of “Where The Lights Are” to the rhythmic twists and turns of “On The Run”, this is a trip that doesn’t stick to the main roads.
The twanging “Satellite” sounds like a surf band that’s been bent out of shape by 10 rounds with the bartender at the Malibu Beach Bar. “Purple Moon”, on the other hand, is a fuzzed-out walk in the park with The Kinks, with the pop meter turned up to heavy.
Pop is definitely at the heart of Sultan Bathery. It’s usually just buried in reverb and distorted solos. Here’s a band that knows its way around the studio and has confidence in its own sound. Despite their choice of holiday destinations, Bollywood schlock is the only thing absent.
The tribal “Flowers Of Evil” and the trippy “Dead Leaves” push the music into Black Lips territory and prove Sultan Bathery can (and do) hold up in any similarly-minded company. Support spots to the Pretty Things and Thee oh Sees (among others) bear this out. For fans of all of the aforementioned or New Zealand's Los Hories.