To me, a key word for Killer Under a Blood Moon would be reinvention. Dan Sultan plays on the original foundations of his recent album Killer with the input of some of Australian music’s most prominent figures on this new EP. At first glance, I thought each artist would compliment Sultan’s style and add a nuance to these already great tracks. And I was right. Mostly.
Drover opens this release much like the proceeding album, and with its jolting start and sinister fuzzy bass tone, we had arrived at something new. Unfortunately, I feel this new, reverb drenched version didn’t help the feature of Dave Le’aupepe or the track itself. Sultan and Le’aupepe’s vocals seemed to clash with each other, making it hard to realise who was who. And with the track creating this large, booming atmosphere, I sadly feel Le’aupepe wasn’t given much room to breathe.
No matter though, because A.B. Original help bring the noise on My Kingdom. I loved the added story arc A.B. were able to weave into the track, and I found the more electronic flume-esque production worked really well as a fresh take on the song. Sultan’s vocal encompasses a new meaning in the choruses, sounding almost repressed and desperate, which smartly ties into the sadness of Indigenous repression on their native lands. That was a seriously nice touch I thought.
Now, Sultan’s choice of Meg Mac for Reaction? Bravo sir, bravo. The duo’s vocal work blends so effortlessly, and man does it make for a catchy tune. Those consistent drums and underlying synths just give the track the groove. The trading of vocal lines in the verse sections provided an amazing harmonious feel to what is a stand out track.
Finally, the addition of Camp Cope on Killer really brings this release to a close. Live drums and driving bass provide a great canvas in which Georgia Maq and Sultan can build that ferocious energy. Both Maq and Sultan open their vocal taps towards the end, with such a performance that it knocked me flat on my backside.
With this EP, Dan Sultan has extracted soul from places you wouldn’t think possible, thanks to a stellar supporting cast. While it doesn’t all quite gel, you’d be crazy not to get a reaction from this one.
Released: 11 May via Liberation Music