The final piece in a trio of releases from Phoenix’ Sunn Trio completes the band’s focus on the the influence of Sun City Girls as it has played into their lives. This third entry to the Mount Meru Anthology (as they’re calling it) is as heavy and dizzying as anything in the band’s catalog. Lead by the stringwork of Joel Robinson, who bends Guitar, Oud, and Bonang through the eye of the psychedelic needle that stitches together Middle Eastern folk, the record is a blistering force. Rhythmic, shredded, and sweating from every pore, Electric Esoterica adopts the pacing and tunings of the the desert blues but funnels them through an amp-fried filter. Robinson’s guitar comes from all directions like a storm. Tearing at the skin and senses with the ferocity of sand pressed to glass, the pieces here don’t leave a lot of room for casual relaxation.
Aside from the influence of the brothers Bishop and their companion Gaucher, the band lists an anger over American Imperialism and deceit surrounding its Middle East war crimes. The band funnels the frustration over tepid policy and willfully immoral maneuvers within the region into a sonic blast that’s as frantic as it is cathartic. As with the subject of their trilogy and many contemporaries on Unrock, they turn the traditional into something potent, physically experienced in a way that leaves the listener exhausted but invigorated. The interplay between the musicians is kinetic — bass and drums locked into a volley of of rhythm back and forth and Robinson letting the blood drip over his strings again and again. If Sunn Trio had eluded your grasp up to now, this is a fine place to start and work backwards through their vibrant catalog.
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