Re:boot and an old shoe
Re:Boot would have been a more fitting title for yesterday’s post in which I welcomed my own voice back to the blogging community. However cleverness is not a strong character trait of mine. I’m more of the George Constanza “oh yeah, well the jerk stored called” … sort of person.
Moving on … also mentioned was my disappointment in the lack of rock and roll commentary in my life and how I also missed writing on the topic. I thought perhaps a good way to get back into all this would be to revisit an old core post trend … album review. So here’s some stuff about that….
I probably won’t ever get around to doing a “favorite albums 2013” list. Which is a shame because last year felt like a huge success in how many albums came out that I thoroughly enjoyed. For probably the first time in maybe 5 years there were truly interesting and excellent albums ready to be consumed. The list of bands included old staples (Vampire Weekend), solid sophomore efforts (Local Natives), underground rawk (Hausu) … and I could easily continue the list of band and types of albums that came out strong. But for now I want to say a few words about what I would say was my favorite album.
Deafheaven’s Sunbather. I know no matter how much I rave about how good this album is I won’t probably be able to get many people to that same place of reverence. I can understand that it’s a tough barrier to get a non-metal listening person to crave some black metal, which is the at the core of the Deafheaven’s sound. I personally would argue that the album is metal because from an instrumental standpoint I think it relies heavily on a more classic prog rock and shoegaze sound than metal. However the vocals here are of a classic black metal nature (think hissing growl … also note to self … hissing growl would make a fucking sweet band name, diarrhea planet should consider making the switch). And to be fair this is a valid reason for someone to not be able to “get into it”.
As for myself by about the 4th or 5th listen I stopped even noticing the vocals… which just aren’t my thing. However the music here was so enthralling that it wasn’t hard for me to feel the draw to keep listening after that first and second spin. I think part of the draw is the nostalgia the album elicits from me. Half the songs have pieces that could have fit on any number of Deftones albums as one of their long playing deep cuts. Then there are parts that go straight up ocean’s 11 ripping off the hazy beauty of The Cure..
Throw in a track devoted to a piano piece and you have yourself an album easily tagged as “something different”.
Even though there are these aspects to the music which don’t fit the traditional black metal sound the band still uses, what I think is the best part of black metal as an anchor for the album. What black metal does great is promote a grandeur in it’s sound. Like you’re listening to deity anthems or music of an epic tale. It invigorates. It swells. It makes the listener feel like they’re listening to something important. I think sunbather does that. I’m not sure if it’s release timing up with the start of summer made a difference in my experience, or if I would have liked it as much if i had listened during a different season, but the music soundtracked every beautiful moment of my summer. Loud and beautiful, it often ripped the air while blasting from my car in a perfectly delightful, if not giddy way.
This album is for people who like rock. As mentioned influences like the Cure and Deftones and Isis can be heard here. As all great albums go this one doesn’t have many if any weak spots. I really can’t think of any tracks I wouldn’t recommend. Most reviews early on lauded album opener Dream House as the strongest piece. I immediately was drawn to the title track “Sunbather”, which found it’s way onto a lot of year end “best track” lists. But that certainly shouldn’t take away from the rest of the songs which taken apart from the aforementioned jewels can stand on their own right as being tremendous.
Here’s hoping the band continues to produce such sparkling doom, and dear lord lets hope they tour around these parts soon.
I think they’ve earned some well deserved attention as well. Back in June I went to the local record store and at the time I had just started listening to Sunbather. I asked the owner if he had gotten the album in and he said he hadn’t heard of it. I asked the same guy last month when I stopped in for some christmas shopping and he said they had 3 copies but they all sold out in a like 2 weeks. So it would seem that I’m not the only person who has a high opinion of the album. Hoping for a follow up soon, but even if that doesn’t happen Sunbather still stands as one of those albums you can always put on and enjoy and never really wear out.
Deathheave: Sunbather … 5 out of 5 boners