The term "desert rock" has a very specific connotation. It's not a genre, per se; it's a loosely defined scene that rose up in the late '80s and early '90s around Palm Desert, with Black Sabbath-inspired riff-slingers like Kyuss and Masters of Reality—and, later, Queens of the Stone Age—getting stoned, loud and heavy. These bands were known for throwing generator parties out in the California desert, which may or may not have been totally legal, but they were almost a necessity in a hot, sparsely populated area with few rock clubs to speak of.
Desert Suns are from San Diego, not the desert, but on first listen to their self-titled debut, you might conclude that they've played a generator party or two in their day. The group's noxiously dense distortion and swirling tendrils of riffs immediately recall the likes of Kyuss—or Sleep or Pentagram. They've worshipped at the altar of doom and inhaled enough secondhand from the stoner rockers to deliver their own head-buzzing concoction.
The album starts off fairly slowly; "Burning Temples" is a molasses-speed journey through a galactic cruiser into vaguely ominous territory. At 2:30, the tempo doubles and the head-banging rhythms begin—as do the solos. Brother, Desert Suns are ready to rock. They dive deeper into psychedelic aesthetics in "Space Pussy" (extra points for the title), chill out with some acoustic blues on "Ten Feet Down," and "Memories of My Home" has a hard-driving boogie to it that sets it apart as an extra-fun highlight.
Desert Suns have a tendency to be a bit over-the-top (one song contains the lyric "Mother, oh Mother / I sleep with the spiders!" ). Most of the time, though, it's all in good fun, and that's just fine. The last thing we need is another rock band that takes itself too seriously.