The time for a new Sunwatchers record is finally upon us. With a late summer build up, and an excellent preview of what was on deck this year at Deep In The Valley, this album’s been lounging in my highly anticipated queue since word first trickled down from Trouble in Mind. The band continues to inject psychedelic jazz with the spirit and ideals of anarcho-punk, then lays the squall atop a German Progressive pulse. The band’s been lofting the banner for social justice for years, and despite the instrumental approach, the writhing unrest that resides at the heart of Sunwatchers’ albums remains more vital than any lyrical screed. No time like the present for an anthem or seven to counter the prevailing winds of greed and hate. The band picked up the recording process from their East Coast environs and landed as the first non-house band on the roster at John Dwyer’s new studio, Discount Mirrors. With Eric Bauer behind the boards and a prime cache of house amps and equipment at their disposal, the band has crafted one of the most crystalline visions of their sound yet.
That’s not to say that the thickened sonics aren’t barnacled with the band’s familiar stamp of gnarled noise. McHugh’s guitars burn hot enough to warm the wires in your speakers and Tobias’ sax has rarely sounded this serrated, but there’s a radiant glow to the band’s sound, and even a bit of tenderness this time around. There’s room in the rally for moments of reflection, and Sunwatchers turn down the turbulence on centerpiece “Foams.” The piece finds Tobias working through hypnotic swells that entrance the listener, tempering the ozone draft that encircles the album. Likewise, closer “Song For The Gone” offers up a fitting tribute to friends lost, adding just a touch of acidity to the cut as originally crafted by McHugh on Spanish acoustic. The album version retains the mournful sweep, but couches it in the band’s familiar growl. This break in the band’s recent hiatus feels like a return to form, but almost certainly also a progression, turning their stage-side sweat into an album that burns deep into the senses.
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