Friday, July 29, 2011

Album review - Sungrazer, 'Mirador', Elektrohasch, 2011.

A special request from 'Fuzzed Out' operator Trev. This is Dutch stoner rock/psychedelia band 'Sungrazer', with their 2011 album 'Mirador'.

The album opens with 'Wild Goose', a slow burner that trundles along with a steady Neu! style beat and light to-the-touch guitars in stereo building the vibe before the curtain is pulled to show the gargantuan fuzz. The track makes its way into some introverted lyrical matters, much like the more docile moments of John Garcia, until finally we are led out by some enchanting analogue delay flutters.

On we go into 'Octo', a three minute burst of stoner energy (a rather rare thing). Guitarist, Rutger Smeets, shows that he knows all the tricks; employing delay, controlled feedback and some mysterious harmonies that are pure music to my ears! OK, obviously it's music, but you get what I mean. Following this is 'Sea'. Over eight minutes, this one builds gradually, gaining layered instruments and atmosphere in equal measures. It all comes to a head in a flurry of rich, fuzzy chaos that The Hidden Hand themselves could had penned.

The first track I heard from this record was the next one, 'Goldstrike', and it is probably still my favourite. This is how Kyuss fans wanted QOTSA's 'Songs for the Deaf' to sound. It has the nonchalant slickness of musicians that cut their teeth in the 90's judging by the confident double vocals and wisely placed clean guitar verses. Settle in your seat and be readily baked for the sublime intro of the 13 minute long 'Behind'. After five minutes of relative beauty, the track really breaks out with some mid-tempo beef before returning once again to the crisp, delay soaked sound of Smeets' telecaster. Finally, the Arctic storm worth of fuzz is calmed by bassist Sander Haagmans' few brief wah affected notes.

The penultimate track is the album's namesake, 'Mirador'. Drummer, Hans Mulders, is determined to prove that he's got 'ghost notes' sorted in his playing. Another long'un, clocking in at eight and a half minutes, and is proper Kyuss all the way! It's as much the dirty, clanky bass as it is the fuzz ladened guitars that bring the retrospect back to thoughts of Kyuss, although the clean sounds Smeets' introduced at 7:19 are nothing that Josh Homme would have used. I suspect this is a nod to Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac, in particular the song 'Dragonfly'. We go out raw and jammy with the closer, '34 and More...'. It may be designed to sound this way but I am guessing that this one was recorded live and with a small audience, judging by the handclaps and the overall under-produced sound. However, creatively this is not lacking compared to anything else on record.

I gotta hand it to Trev of Fuzzed Out, this one is a keeper! All the signature stoner treats are herein contained and much more too. Haagmans keeps the whole lot grooving and moving in that Geezer Butler kind of way, matched with the perfectly relaxed yet driving beats of Mulders, while Smeets lays down the stunning beauty on top of it all. A top notch band playing top notch psychedelic tunes, so sit down with your good, music loving friends and roll one 'Trailer Parks Boys' style because this is one you will want to listen to from beginning to end.

Sungrazer – 'Mirador', Elektrohasch Records, 2011.
Rating: 9/10
For fans of: The Hidden Hand, Neu!, Kyuss.
Check out Sungrazer and place orders here:
By Edward Gerard Brophy,
For Born Again Nihilist and Fuzzed Out, 2011.

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