While it’s certainly correct to say that Sunburned Hand of the Man never truly went away — with a steady stream of CD-rs and digital releases populating their voluminous catalog — their last two albums have felt like something of a resurrection. Prior to last year’s excellent Headless, which surfaced out of a Black Dirt Session and became one of their most searing records yet, the band hadn’t really put down a proper studio record since 2010. The early days of Raven were soundtracked by the crusted cosmic hum of Sunburned and it feels good to have the band’s psychedelic scrawl fuming out of the speakers once more.
Darker than Headless, which hovered in a sun-charred aura between studio burndowns and acoustic ramble, Pick A Day To Die lives in the shadows. The tracks here stalk and singe, moving from throbbing rhythm-laced moments like “Flex” to the desperation haunt of “Solved.” As with the last album, the players don’t ground themselves down in a specific vein for too long, working to shift between facets of fry with a disorienting tumble from growl to groove before throwing the listener headlong into the funhouse mirror of “Initials” and then bursting out the other side onto the blood alter of “Prix Fixe.” Paired with the previous LP, this marks a defiant second wave for the Northeast’s leading psych shamans. The band has been seeping out the seething vapors of free scrape in limited runs for too long. With Headless and now Pick A Day To Die they’ve thrown the gates wide and we’re all challenged to dive into the blinding blackness they’ve served up.
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