Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
My favorite Pretoria, South Africa-based band is back with a new EP! The psychotic garage rock and psych blues band Ruff Majik returns with the 3-song ‘A Finch In A Cherry Tree‘. My working relationship with covering the lads, Johni Holiday (guitar and vocals), Jimmy Glass (bass), and Benni Manchino (drums), goes back at least three releases and nearly as many years too.
The wonderful thing about Ruff Majik is they always keep their traditional foundation in place, which is a bluesy alternative rock of course. They heap on ample stoner-fied elements such as some furious fuzz ferocity and interestingly, they record their music in live single takes. That means no studio trickery or intricate repair work to enhance their sound in some way. No, with this band, what you hear is what you get.
What you get with their latest effort, another one with an animal reference in its title – like earlier releases – I might add, is unadulterated rock ‘n roll. It begins here with the heavy, thickened riff-driven “Last Of The Witches“. Those riffs arrive after an enticing stand-alone drum intro and eventual bass line accompaniment. There’s a definite funk-ish swing that propels the track, along with Johni’s inimitable vocals, at points between the crushing deluges of doomier segments.
There is basically no divide between that first song and the eruption of “It Flies At Night“. The song has a definite NWOBHM / proto doom feel to it, sounding steeped in very vintage-like aesthetics. There’s an occult-ish vibe, an eerie one at that, permeating the song too.
The third and final track, “Hanami Sakura (And The Ritual Suicide)“, has a hazy start of stripped-down music and vocals. It soon too hits its stride and takes you on a ride of rolling, bottom-heavy bluesiness. Some group background vocals join in at times as the music seems to slowly build in intensity over time. It eventually hits the breaking point and outros with a gradual soup of feedback and ghostly instrumentation.
There you have it, my summary of the latest EP, ‘A Finch In A Cherry Tree‘, from Ruff Majik. As always, this trio never fails to impress and keep your attention invested in their rather unique music. They truly have a sound all their own, something that is somewhat hard to accomplish in this day and age and I invite you to check them, and it, out now below.