EP Review: Dan Sultan – ‘Killer Under a Blood Moon’
Grungy, filthy, muddy. These are the first words that spring to mind upon listening to ‘Drover’, the sassy opener to Australian powerhouse Dan Sultan’s new EP, Killer Under a Blood Moon. Beginning with an assault on the sense of clapping and hammering, it combines rugged keyboard tones with a driving drumbeat and moaning guitars. This creates the visual of a drover hard at work in the barren outback. “I’ll keep shining till my droving days are done” brings home this story, cementing it as a powerful introduction.
There’s a passionate anger apparent in the tracks, most visible (or audible, rather) in ‘My Kingdom’, a track featuring hip hop duo A.B Original. Sombre keyboard chords accompany the pair’s smooth flow of words, while Sultan takes a backseat. Handclaps surge once again, as a synth tone rises, making for an incredibly complex song.
With the first two tracks, there was a danger that the entire EP would repeat these same motions – hard-hitting, soulful numbers with little breathing room throughout. As powerful as ‘My Kingdom’ is, it comes much too soon after the pulse-pounding ‘Drover’. Had it been placed later in the track listing, it would have been easier to stomach. Another unfortunate misstep is ‘Killer’, with its nauseating outro in which Camp Cope engage in what feels like a yelling match with Sultan. It’s a shame because until that point, the song is listenable.
The positive about having a different guest star on every track is there’s plenty of variety to be had. The standout here is ‘Reaction’, featuring Meg Mac. Assured drumbeats sidle alongside the harmonising of Sultan and Mac. Spacey guitars complete the interaction, prompting a pleasant sense of hypnotism as the two repeat “Get a reaction” into the ether.
Bursting at the seams with something for everyone, Dan Sultan’s EP is like a party mix of lollies; you don’t know what you’ll pull out each time you reach in, but it has a high chance of being delicious (unless it’s one of those pineapple abominations). Although not every arrow hits the mark, Killer Under a Blood Moon will dissuade you from being a killer, while enticing you to howl at the moon, such is its scattered magic.