Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sgt. Sunshine - III

I enter the room at the end of the barracks.  Lieutenant Oppressor was standing imposingly behind his desk.

"Staff Sergeant Penfold reporting as requested sir."
"Sergeant Penfold we have a problem."
"What kind of problem sir?"
"A very serious problem Sergeant Penfold."
"Yes sir.  I understand sir."
"Do you understand Sergeant?  Do you really?"
"No sir.  I told you that I understood hoping that you would choose to elaborate on the problem sir."
"Ha!  Clever tactic Sergeant.  Very clever.  Tell me.  What would you have done if I had not divulged any more details concerning our problem?"
"Sir, I am confused.  You have not divulged any more pertinent details concerning our problem in this instance.  But to answer your question, I would have carried on with my illusion of understanding until either the situation became intolerable or you called my bluff sir."
"Very good Sergeant Penfold.  With those instincts you'll be an officer in no time."
"Thank you sir.  May I request more information about this problem of ours sir?"
"Certainly Sergeant.  There is a troublemaker wreaking havoc on this squad's morale.  Do you know who I'm referring to Sergeant?"
"No sir.  I haven't a clue sir."
"It's Sergeant Sunshine."
"But sir, Sergeant Sunshine is a happy soldier.  He's one of my best men."
"Exactly Sergeant Penfold.  The men I command have historically been depressed and anxious, which is just how I like it.  This Sergeant Sunshine is ruining your squad with his infectious good cheer!"
"Very well sir.  What would you have me do about this sir?"
"I want you to do whatever it takes to make Sergeant Sunshine unhappy.  No, scratch that!  I want him to be miserable!"
"May I speak freely sir?"
"Permission granted Sergeant Penfold.  Speak your mind."
"Thank you sir.  It is my belief that you should immediately seek help from the base hospital's on-duty shrink, because I'm convinced that you've gone off the reservation mentally...sir."
"That will be all Sergeant Penfold.  Your suggestion has been duly noted.  You are dismissed."
"Thank you sir."

Barren outpost, here I come!

Greetings waveriders.  I recently encountered something quite rare in my musical travels which I wanted to share with all of you.  To be clear, these occurrences are rare enough that I immediately put my brain on high alert for fear that I was being mislead.  What happened you ask?  It's quite simple really.  I popped the album III by Sgt. Sunshine into my CD player, put on my headphones, hit play, and was absolutely floored by what I heard!  Now, being floored by music is nothing new to me.  What separates Sgt. Sunshine from the vast majority of my other listening experiences is that it took absolutely no time whatsoever to decide that I wholeheartedly loved this music!  Normally it requires two full listens for me to pass judgment on an album.  Not this time.  Once was enough!

Sgt. Sunshine is a somewhat difficult case study.  There is not a whole lot of information floating around the internet about the group not tied into an album review.  That said, here is what I know.  Sgt. Sunshine hails from Sweden.  Malmo, Sweden to be exact.  The band is made up of three men; guitarist and vocalist Eduardo Fernandez, bassist Par Hallgren, and drummer Christian Lundberg.  Another gentleman named Michael Mino plays bass, percussion, and also performs backup vocals on one song.  What kind of music do they play?  Fuzzy, heavy, fuzzed out, soulful, fuzz-tastic, brilliant hard rock!  I mentioned the fuzz aspect right?  Good.  A very cool nugget of information I came across is that the band engineers their own homemade distortion pedals.  All I can say is that these guys clearly know what they're doing.  Listening to the devastatingly heavy, wickedly righteous guitar and bass tones is like wrapping yourself inside a comforting electric blanket of doom.  The sound is so warm and inviting it defies logic!

On III Sgt. Sunshine weave desert rock, stoner rock, heavy-psych, and doom metal into a wonderful whiplash-inducing tapestry.  "Zoetrope" starts the proceedings off nicely with an insistent drumbeat and a guitar line that evokes Queens Of The Stone Age.  "Golden Dawn" is the auditory equivalent of a highly potent energy drink.  "Beneath The Song" lulls the listener into a false sense of calm before detonating a megaton-force riff with no advance warning.  Led Zeppelin aficionados will flip over the "Dancing Days"-esque "Solar Butterfly", and the delightfully folksy "Levin".  And "Holy Mother"?  Holy cow!  The remaining four songs are worthy of individual analysis as well, but I think at this point you understand that I like this album.  I really, really do.  Besides, I guarantee that once you get a taste of what Sgt. Sunshine has to offer it's inevitable that you're going to listen to the whole album anyway!

Still with me waveriders?  Well alright then!  Allow me to draw this testimonial to a close.  Sgt. Sunshine has created what may end up being my favorite album of 2013.  At the very least it is my current go to music when I'm feeling up, when I'm feeling down, and when I'm feeling somewhere in between.  III is a magnificent work of musical heaviness that needs to be heard by any fan of hard rock with a pulse.  End of story.



 Golden Dawn 

1 comment:

Mike said...

I was waiting for a review like this about Sgt. Sunshine and III specifically. What a brilliant album. Thank you for calling attention to it. The song structures on III can be a bit unconventional and some parts seem to just drop in out of nowhere, but that's really what makes it so cool. It's sometimes so straightforward and other times is just "weird," for lack of a stronger word.

You're absolutely right--the fuzz tone you mentioned is just so velvety and warm, just straight butter. It sounds like they changed up the guitar tones from song to song. The way they mixed the guitars is pretty sweet too.

All good stuff.

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