DOPE SKUM - Folk Magic (Mini-Review)
This year, in an attempt to cover more music that would all-too-oft slip through the very large cracks, we're trying something new and novel around these parts. Namely, we're gonna actually publish the little one-off reviews that were previously (and arbitrarily) deemed too short for publication. In that spirit, here's a mini-review of a swampy single worth checking out.
Written by: The Administrator
There's a lot that I love about the intrinsic qualities of stoner doom, but perhaps my favorite aspect is the fairly constant relationship between quality and simplicity. More often than not, stoner music striving to complicate the formula loses me, whereas the tunes that stick to a core motif with a grimy dogged stoicism tend to win me over. Despite a catalog only boasting six tracks, Chatanooga's own Dope Skum fall soundly into the latter category. They know their strengths, they play to them. Their tracks aren't overly complex, and that's the damn point.
This new single, "Folk Magic," is the first new music from the Appalachian trio since the release of their debut EP in 2020. While several of the tracks on that project felt slightly long, I quite liked Tanansi, and was excited to see something new from the Dope Skum camp hit the ol' inbox.
And let me tell ye: if you're in the mood for some swampy fuzz, "Folk Magic" will hit the damn spot. This is a great track. Plain and simple.
From a riffcraft perspective, the comparisons are honestly fairly endless, but in my mind, Dope Skum's approach particularly recalls the heft and organic appeal of Bongzilla. There's a tangible weight behind the bluesy central riff, a plodding-through-the-mire. An homage to a long Appalachian tradition of generational folk magic, the track itself has a very strong sense of place, pulling both from the grounded instrumentation and the atmospheric cicada-laden intro. The vocals, which are bellowed more than sung, stick to a single simple refrain of the track's title. It's a simple approach but, illustrating the aforementioned tenet, one that succeeds mightily. One does not need a hooky chorus when repeated howls of "Folk Magic!" serve, in and of themselves, as an earworm of significant proportion.
I can only hope that "Folk Magic" serves as a harbinger of more great music from Dope Skum. Give it a listen and consider snagging it from bandcamp here!
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.