They used to say that November was the cruellest month. Actually, in 2011 and the world of heavy music, we should politely suggest that it was September that was the cruellest month. Cruel on my bank balance at any rate. Some simply fantastic records from the like of Opeth, Machine Head, Anthrax and Mastodon. Can I also now drop in the latest album from The Proselyte as well please? In a deeply crowded marketplace, I almost forgot about this one but I’m glad I pulled it back into my review pile as it’s something of an unexpected delight. The Proselyte are one of those bands that those “in the know” seem to rave about, even without a record out. This debut album seems sure to get them a greater and wider and more deserved recognition outside their native Boston.
Whether its the stoner delights of ‘Suckers Have Teeth’ or the Queens of the Stone Age bourbon soaking that is ‘Four Fathers’, there’s a bucketload of talent on display here. Piles of melody, driven guitar parts and piling drumming, the “Sunshine” this band have in mind is the oppressive, unrelenting sort- it’s the sunshine you’ll find in a David Lynch movie or a William Burroughs novel.
There’s a creative fecundity to the entire record: songs have complex and intricate structures but not in a way that suggests self reverence or noodling- there’s a proper sense of purpose behind their artful wiliness. There’s the occasional nod to the southern groove you find in the heart of Baroness or Red Fang– perhaps most noticeably on the brilliant and eccentric ‘White Mud‘ but it’s not a xerox copy; there is clearly a shared aesthetic and it’s one I find hard to resist. Elsewhere, the harmony filled ‘Legion of Vine‘ reminded me of late period Nirvana if they had decided to go sludge and I bet you any money you’ll swear that folk heads Fleet Foxes have guest starred on the simply barking mad ‘Slaw’. Yeah, its THAT kinda record.
“Sunshine” is one of those records that is neither sludge nor stoner nor, well, anything really. It might be too light for the purist sludgers out there (although they clearly haven’t listened long and hard enough to ‘Sulfur Queen’) and not metal enough for some (but even metalheads will adore the mentalism of ‘Thirty Thousand Feet of Shark‘ (surely song title of the year)) but “Sunshine” doesn’t really care about pigeonholes: on the contrary, it’s opted for quality and artistry over classification and cataloguing and is all the better for it.
Sheer bloody hard work on the live circuit has paid off for Nicolas Wolf and his band of reprobates. “Sunshine” is, by turns, accomplished, effervescent, angry, angular, impassioned and downright thrilling. It’s a record that will appeal to stoner fans but has enough sheer force to grab metalheads and enough collective musical intelligence to turn the head of even the most chin stroking of prog fans. Top drawer, as they say.
Catch them on tour in October:
October 7th-Philadelphia, PA @ O’Reilly’s Pub w/ Ape!, Rouge House, Nine Fingered Thug
October 8th-Brooklyn, NY @ Don Pedro w/ Tidal Arms, Yorba Linda, Lunglust
October 9th-Silver Spring, MD MATINEE @ Quarry House w/ Midnight Eye, Akris
October 10th-Raleigh, NC @ King’s Barcade w/ Thou, Make
October 11th-Greenville, NC @ Help
October 12th-Atlanta, GA @ Archive Gallery w/ The Creamers
October 13th-Orlando, FL @ Hoops Tavern w/ Abuse, Knife Hits, Flying Snakes
October 14th-Miami, FL @ The Cave
October 15th-St Pete, FL @ Fubar w/ Flying Snakes, God Harvest, Sumo Szyslak
October 16th-Beach Day Off!!!!
October 17th-Tallahassee, FL @ AF Haus
October 18th-New Orleans, LA @ Siberia Nola w/ Mortals, TBA
October 19th-San Antonio, TX @ Night Rockers w/ Lions of Tsavo, Rust, Old and Ill, Deguello
October 20th-Austin, TX @ Red Seven w/ Bridge Farmers, The Vessel
October 21st-Dallas/Emory, TX @ NO THANKS FEST w/ Stymie, Wiccans
October 22nd-Columbia, MO @ Cafe Berlin w/ In Defense, Creaturezoid, The Phaggs
October 23rd-Appleton, WI @ House Show w/ Perversion, The Parish
October 24th-Madison, WI @ The Wisco w/ Eagle Claw
October 25th-Chicago, IL @ Debonair
October 26th-Ft Wayne, IN @ Tiger Room w/ Castles, Antlers as Roots
October 27th-Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups with Artillary Breath, Savage Pinkos
October 28th-Upstate, NY/Central, PA – Help
October 29th-Boston MA @ TBA with Thrones, Danava