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Music Review

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Let There Be Light


Artist: Sun Atoms
Label: Acid Test Recordings
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 01 October 2021

The Acid Test Recordings releases Let There Be Light, the new project album by Portland Psych Rock band Sun Atoms. Fronted by Jsun Atoms (The Upsidedown, Daydream Machine), it also features the Dandy Warhols’ guitarist Peter Holmstrom, The Black Angels’ Alex Maas, and is mixed by Stephen Street (Blur, The Smiths). The songs are loosely connected by the sun itself, the music described as low-strung cosmic nuggets. The single, 'Take Me To Your Leader', is accompanied by an available to view bespoke animated video created by illustrator Casey Jarman (Typhoon, Mo Troper, Mascara). Let There Be Light is available for download...

'The Cat’s Eye' starts us off with basics of bass guitar and bass drum. A gentle guitar sound is hardly heard amidst whooshing sound effects and additional percussion. The vocals are clear and dreamlike. Then the guitar finally breaks through as mildly raucous and overdriven – an attempt at a bit of Psychedelic Rock. 'Half Robot Half Butterfly' opens like 1960s Space Rock, before coming to life with a clattering riff and low-range vocals. This one has more of a tune to it and carries a quirky feel. It ends with purposeful discordant noises as the music is broken down into its constituent parts. 'Captain Tunnel Vision' wears a warmer production feel, with the vocals even lower so that they sound conspiratorial and husky. The drums and percussion drive this. A trumpet intrudes upon the touches of ringing guitar. The package of this song is well thought out, with a stomping purposefulness. This is probably the best of the bunch.

'Don’t Take Me To Your Leader' is Electronica based, with both male and female vocals strangely at odds with each other. A flute sound is the light melody, and a brass saxophone sample also makes itself known. A nice, solid but rolling drum pattern gives this a marching pattern. 'Super Switch Kid' opens with tribal voices and percussion, before quickly becoming both mystical and cosmopolitan. The vocals are low and spoken, amidst a sliding electronic backdrop. This is a little outré, and so a little out of touch with reality. The speaking in tongues line says it all. 'Fell For You' is reminiscent of a 1980s New Wave single, with a beat borrowed from New Order’s 'Blue Monday'. This is more of a standardly structured song and consequently I found it less interesting than the more original offerings.

'Two Wolves and a Lamb Voted on What’s For Dinner' has much better lyrics than music, which is quite basic, Jazzy and Funky in places. An out of tune fuzz guitar contribution does little to raise interest. It’s a shame, but I suppose the backing needed to be played down to enhance the poetic quality of the vocals. 'Praying Mantis' wraps things up with a lazy piece. And just when you think the vocals can’t get any lower… In places, this is an interesting release; an original enterprise for the aforementioned tracks that work. When an album is too experimental there are just as many tracks to dislike as there are to like. That’s the nature of diversity.


Ty Power

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