Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Review: Sun God : (S)PAIN

It may be shocking, even orgasmic, to gain the knowledge that I don’t write exclusively for the Deadtown office; I’m actually a celebrated journalist if only in my own and my mothers mind. I’ve been published in weeklies, monthlies and in book form. Yeah, I know, I have impressed you but really I’m actually a struggling wingnut (as Mr. Erba once called me in a letter written in 1996-ish) who, from time to time, pitches a thing or two about local Cleveland music. That’s reason #1 as to why I don’t have a lot of timely reviews on this blog.

But, here and again, I do have a rare chance to wax ever so fucking poetic on something fresh and, well, refreshing. So when I called out to Cleveland in a not-so-overt fashion to send me free music, I was very excited that Sun God rose to the challenge and sent me their new(ish) 7”. I wanted to build a Cle distro and they liked that sentiment; of course I have NO intention on doing so but it shows a sort of local support that I did get free music by just taking the initiative to ask. So this, handful of readers, is my first exclusive.

Sun God
(S)pain
(Pizza Pants Records)

Holy crap, I feel seventeen again.




I dropped down a bunch because I wanted to drive that first sentence into your head. I do… I feel young and a little out of reach of the things I actually have within a hands grasp of now; money, sex, booze and stableness. But, don’t get me wrong, that’s a good feeling to relish in and I’ll tell you why: when I was seventeen I loved music, I loved its surrounding culture and I knew when something was good if not totally fucking killer.

Ever since I found money, sex and especially booze (stableness still avoids me) I have not been able to connect with music the way I had at that age. Sure, I went through a stoner rock phase where songs about drinking, drugging and fucking seemed appropriate. And I have run a gamut of stereotype: vegetarian, straight edge, hardcore, wigger, punk and metalhead. Fuck, I have a Jewel poster on my wall and a James Taylor greatest hits in my closet. But I grew up, or cut my teeth, or learned my way, through and on hardcore. DC, Post, Revelation, Very Distribution, Victory; I’ve got all those catalogs and I still relish how good all of it made me feel. Sun God are, to my ears, the first Cleveland band to rope it all together in an intelligent way without losing the most important part about contemporary music: those lovely hooks.

“(S)pain” is a burner and I know I have used that phrase to an almost freely extent in the past but, trust me, this song could be the start of the best record any old-school HC label put out. Complete with wicked little string slides, the guitar work is taken to over-drive making it a sort of riddle to how the drums even keep time. We have solo this and solo that, it’s always a welcome surprise but the main riff alone is leaving my computer speakers shaking in disbelief. I think I’m hearing this in the vocal: “I don’t need what I don’t see” and it’s nothing short of the truth; I don’t know what these guys are doing to their poor instruments but it’s all sort of all right. A pounding, it’s what both I and computer are taking at one am Pacific Time.

My roommate just left the apartment a while ago but, before he left his graveyard of Pabst cans behind, he summed it up by repeating, over and over, “This shit is awesome.”

Only three songs are humbly given to us here and I’m actually glad for it because it’s the best kind of tease: I’m almost on my proverbial knees begging for a full length with some shitty minimalist artwork. Something I can keep in my collection and pull out in a drunken stupor to happily surprise any record collecting nerd with this pearl out of the Cleveland oyster.

Maybe I’m giving too much credit but in a lake that’s too Erie for it’s own good, we have something that’s pretty special in a throwback that y’all missed kind of sort of way. “Homewrecker” may drive this point home to you with the way the word “time” is drawn out when in reference to it being such a waste. Yeah, you’re on to something, brother. If nothing else, we can all be witness to that, right? And, in context, it’s even more thrilling; post-punk guitar strutting, backup vocals riding a crest and the constant pounding of “what I did was wrong” making us remember the littlest mistake as if it was us getting injured midseason and not Derek Anderson (sorry).

I’ve already written about how much I revere the final song, “Bailin’Out”; reference a few blogs past to know for yourself. Or you can do yourself the favor of buying this record (or do like I did and ASK for it but be sure to return the favor the next time your at Melt by telling the hipster girl next to you how much it rips).

It’s been a while since I have had nothing bad to say about a record from Cleveland or elsewhere, maybe it’s a tribute to how great this release is or it could be a lesson many bands should learn: in this age of kitchen reality shows and three minute pro wrestling matches, just give them what they need, something killer, and then wait and rejoice.

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