Album Review By Von Goloka. Rock at Night, Manchester, UK
Album review: Sunset Sons-Blood Rush Déjà Vu-Released 1st November 2019
Pan global, itinerant shape shifters, Sunset Sons spend a shed load of record company cash, take a deep breath and throw the dice for their second long player Blood Rush Déjà Vu. Does the gamble pay off?
So, formally straight down the line rockers Sunset Sons bring in “A” lister Catherine Marks for an engineering sound production makeover for Blood Rush Déjà Vu and the proof is in the pudding. Contriving to distil the essence and energy of rocking giants Kings of Leon and U2 (amongst others) the hand of Marks is all over this record as she steers the Sunset Sons towards a bit-perfect synthesis of two of the rock behemoths of our times for much of the album. It’s no exaggeration to say that Marks is to the Sunset Sons what Epstein was to the Beatles. And what we have as a result is Blood Rush Déjà Vu; a full frequency and perfectly balanced album. Its 10 tracks are easy on the ears and seek unapologetically to occupy the mainstream with what the record company describes as a “modern streamlined rock” record. Hmmm Intriguing!
Now to me; rock is a primarily raw and rebellious, unruly, unrestrained and often lo-fi platform where the angry expression of disenfranchised youth can be put out there for pennies; where clashing guitars and pounding riffs challenge everything in sight. It has to be said that there’s none of that to be found on Blood Rush Déjà Vu. Instead, although we still have all the ingredients of rock to enjoy, there is a subtle re configuration of its component parts to deliver something much more melodic and “safe”. At the forefront of Blood Rush Déjà Vu lyrically lightweight but strong vocals dominate, expressing instantly accessible sentiments. Cushioned by expansive and drifting keyboards that add a prosaic and emotional component guitars are largely pushed way way back in the mix.
Ok so now I get it; so it seems that “modern streamlined rock” is the new “middle of the road”. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that and Sunset Sons have without doubt crafted a very proficient and slick album here that clearly develops their previous sound. If they aspire to grab the limelight and reap the benefits of occupying the lucrative centre ground of the commercial side of the music business and secure global success then they stand as good a chance as anyone this year with Blood Rush Déjà Vu and good luck to them. I for one actually liked it and I played it more than once. It left me feeling quite uplifted and positive.
One does gets the strong impression, though, that perhaps the price of modernisation for Sunset Sons will be a new found sobriety and forensic focus on delivering a finely tuned and ultimately accessible music for the widest possible audience and maybe, just maybe here, the rock in their rock music may be forever lost along the way. That is the gamble here, but be in no doubt they deserve credit for their single mindedness in chasing this dream and there is no reason to really doubt their direction of travel on this one. I think they have a pretty strong hand to play with.
No chucking TV’s off hotel balconies for Sunset Sons any time soon though with this most modern of phenomena; “the streamlined rock band”. If that ever were the case I suspect it would come under the category of confected hype.
Geniuses on VG’s top shelf ; Anton Newcombe, The Cosmic Jokers, Herb Alpert and Bob Calvert.
Geniuses on stage: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Inner City Unit, Bon Scott.