I kept hearing great things about this Shooting Guns band but never really paid much attention. Most of the praise came from a resident of Shooting Guns' home base of Saskatoon. Therefore, I assumed a local bias was at least partially responsible. Much like the way I fawned over Kingston's I Hate Sally (RIP) and Guelph's Arise and Ruin (also RIP)(I lived in Guelph for 3 years). I might never have known how wrong I was about that bias had Born to Deal in Magic :1952-1976 not shown up in my inbox. I love being wrong.
Drinking deep from the well of doom (anti)luminaries Black Sabbath ("Dopestrings") and Electric Wizard ("Harmonic Steppenwolf"), this instrumental quintet has conjured a gem of an album from the ether of those cold prairie nights. Born to Deal's fuzzed out jams flow with hypnotic grace, lulling the listener into a state of total bliss. Sharp angularity has no place here as the smoothed edges of the groove transport you to a land of complacency. No need to worry about anything as you let the swell of psychedelia wash over you in waves of calming vibration. The wall of sound created is anything but oppressive. It feels more like non-violent explosions of warm light blooming in the darkness, the riffs floating on a sea of synths. EW and Sabbath aren't the only tributaries feeding these dark yet tranquil waters. Streams of Clutch ("Public Taser"), the almighty Sleep ("The Last Great Depression") and Karma To Burn ("Liberator") filter through the bedrock to augment the effectiveness of Born to Deal until you're neck deep in numbing coolness. Overdriven and delay-soaked, Shooting Guns drown the listener beneath texture and layers of sonic serenity. Not merely content to wallow in subsonic frequencies at an easy pace, "Stay Awake Forever" is a Hammond-drenched ride down a space highway with a Steppenwolf patch on its jacket while album closer "Cheater's Justice" sounds heavily informed by early Monster Magnet. And we can all use more Monster Magnet influence in our lives. It may sound like a lot of name dropping but this is no album of ripoffs. Shooting Guns merely take a queue from killer bands and reconfigure those methodologies into something unique and wholly satisfying.
It's been a while since I've heard something I'm so comfortable in labeling "stoner rock". But not even in the sense that it's music for stoners as much as music that makes you feel stoned. It's cantering rhythm and "bathed in smoke" feel pull the listener away from the physical sensations shackling them to their Tellurian existence to transcend dimensions on a cosmic trip. Pack your (dime)bags and bongs my friends, this is one journey you can't afford to miss.
Any band that can take a handful of my ALL TIME favourite bands and sew them into an album of considerable greatness is worthy of all the praise I can throw at them. I can't get enough. Get some. NOW.