A completely bombastic, globe trotting psychedelic journey with a spiritual home in Brooklyn. This outfit smash together wah and skronk, liquid bass and driving rhythms to create hypercolour, throwback rock action. Perfect bleached out hits for fans of Sun City Girls, African psyche and heaven knows what else.
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Lovely loveliness is really the only way I can describe the Sunwatchers, whose most recent record of sun-dappled psych noise miasma comes with a promise to “stand in solidarity with the dispossessed, impoverished and embattled people of the world”. It feels like a large political statement for a record with pretty much nothing on its mind but squelch, skronk and good-time freak out, but it’s fitting that a band of this ilk would take Albert Ayler’s famous words -- “music is the healing force of the universe” -- to heart.
Anyway, can we talk about how good the Sunwatchers have gotten? Their combination of clanking guitars, noisy rhythmic contradictions and wild-horns-appeared horns has become as slick as it is wild, a musical rotation rather than a clumsy tailspin. They move from the quixotically named “Nose Beers” into the droney “Hot Eye” with a precision no band of this style could really muster, before dropping into an unforeseen depth of jazz fusion that involves languishing sax riffs and wonderful keyboard tinkerings. All the while their dynamics and energy help play out what should be a sidebar jam as a big, epic song of a thing.
Sunwatchers really opened the gate on this one, bringing in enough players of enough instruments to make their record feel as communal and noisy as a whole bunch of different records -- in my head, this record sounds something like Eternal Tapestry playing with Idris Ackamoor, a record that truly investigates psych rock and a more formally considered version of jazz. Here are moments where it really feels like the solidarity it claims to have, and that’s awesome. Music actually does that. I'm reminded of what Godspeed You! Black Emperor said last year -- that they wanted to make a record as communal and joyous as Ornette Coleman's 'Friends and Neighbors' -- in Sunwatchers unwavering belief in Ayler and his musical hope. Am I a believer now?
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