Released: 2005, Small Stone Records
Not sure why I’m just getting Novadriver’s 2005 (and latest) album now in 2008, but I’m damn sure glad that I did. I reviewed the band’s first album (VOID) back in 2001 and was not impressed. At that time, they just sounded like yet another stoner rock band with no distinguishing features. El yawn-o. What resulted for the band was four years of turmoil brought on by the departure of vocalist Mark Miers. Fast forward and Mark is back in the fold and the band has released their second album, DEEPER HIGH.
I’m not sure what happened to the band in the four years between albums, but something obviously clicked, because DEEPER HIGH is, in all facets, a better album than VOID. Passionate vocals from Miers, catchy riffs from Reedy and Ruhf, and some of the most infectious stoner rock songs this side of Throttlerod and Dixie Witch. No shit, from track one to track nine, DEEPER HIGH just smokes. Miers sings with abandon and the guitars...oh the guitars. Just check out “Turn to Stone” with its irresistible riff and blazing solo (from Reedy) for proof of how much better this band has become. Even the quiet stuff (“Dark Aftermath”) grabs your attention, whereas on many stoner albums the slow songs are the point where the psychedelia outweighs the riffs and I go make a sandwich.
Sadly, the album ends with an instrumental jam, followed by an irritating feedback-fest called “Whiteout”. But man, from 1 – 9 you just cannot go wrong. This disc may be a few years old already, but it’s worth revisiting. Hopefully Novadriver keeps it together (although it’s already been three years since this album...) and cranks out the masterpiece that I now firmly believe is in them.