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Bad Guru - Love and Fear Me (self-released)

7 July 2024

If this new single from Atlanta’s Bad Guru proves anything, it is that the gap between contemporary stoner rock and the more lysergic psychedelic playgrounds of bands such as Jefferson Airplane is not so far apart. But then again, given that both genres were, at least in part, inspired by and infused with certain mind-altering concoctions, I guess this is to be expected.

“Love and Fear Me” is a dark and delicious anthem that ebbs and flows between blistering, raw and incendiary rock music and more ornate psychedelic trips. It shifts in dynamic and pace to create its clever blends of sonic light and shade, and perhaps, like the aforementioned JA and their rivals, The Doors this feels like it is happier to explore the dark underbelly of society perhaps more that it celebrates the more palatable side of life. That’s okay; everyone looks good in black!

But if that suggests that Bad Guru is a backward glancing band, this is only because their music resonates slightly with some classic sounds, but for the most part, this is a step into the future rather than a plagiarising or plundering of past glories. Then again, music is cyclical, and the wheel makes a complete turn about every thirty years. So if we last heard music of such dark intensity during the rise of grunge and the parallel UK space rock scene that spawned bands such as Spiritualized and Spacemen 3, then the timing is perfect for such ripples to be heard in rock music once more.

Bad Guru certainly knows where their music comes from, but where they are taking it is a much more interesting prospect, if you ask me. (And if you have read this far, you kind of did!)