On record: Sunchaser, by Swamp Ritual


Missoula two-piece Swamp Ritual are like the kid brothers of Fu Manchu, who never bothered to get a guitar player involved, and didn't get bogged down thinking about what a cocky shredder might've added to the mix. Instead, they figured out how a simple bass and drum could explore the heavier end of the rock and roll spectrum. That they got there so well is a testament to their solid talents. Bassist Dustin Fugere can lock into a brutally heavy groove, provide a galloping riff and solo with a wah pedal if necessary. Drummer Sid La Tray's drum chops are excellent and unadorned.

Where Fu Manchu represented the well-washed hair, Ocean Pacific shirt and shiny retro van scene of southern California, Swamp Ritual channels a seedier Birmingham-cum-Lolo vibe, complete with stringy hair, dirty van and no Ocean Pacific. Sunchaser is the Missoula duo's second record, and it follows their highly effective first studio recording, the 2015 Ritual Rising. Common to the stoner rock genre, Swamp Ritual doesn't give a shit about writing short. On this album, they mostly blast out six- to 13-minute songs, with the exception of the two-minute-43-second "Lawnmower," an ode to stoned lawnmowing. It's the only part of this record that's a little throwaway for me.

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