Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Album Review: The Sunpilots - King of the Sugarcoated Tongues

Album Rating: B+
Indicative of the social media charged society we live in, there is a plethora of ways for bands to spread their music to the general public – and the list of ways is constantly growing. Even so, the way I discovered The Sunpilots is something of an anomaly; and they succeed in being the first truly great band on Lastfm to have directly sent me a link based on my interests. Aside from it being a solid medium of channelling their music directly to their target audience, it also reflects the industrious and persistent nature of the band and its members. Having toured extensively around Europe for the best part of two years after moving from their native Australia, they've couch surfed and lived on a shoestring with only one thing in mind. Their latest album, King of the Sugarcoated Tongues, might just be what brings them the recognition they've strived for.

Imagine for a moment if you will, what would happen if Incubus and The Mars Volta settled down in a 3 bedroom semi in the suburbs and decided to start a family. The Sunpilots - intentionally or not – sound like their well planned offspring, as it splices their sonic chromosomes equally to make a highly groovy and composed progressive album. More specifically, King of the Sugarcoated Tongues takes the atmospheric bliss of Incubus’ Morning View, and combines it with the relaxed experimentation present on The Mars Volta’s Octahedron; an experiment which is every bit as pleasant as the comparisons suggest.

Featuring highly prominent and influential bass-lines throughout, the songs are built sturdily on tight grooves and melodies, and they provide the basis for the progressive passages which dominate towards the end of many of the songs. Album closer and epic “Exodus” sees a funky bass-line dominate throughout in one of the more up tempo efforts, whilst the pop packaged “The Piper’s Mirror” sees the bass frantically chasing and overlapping with the guitar in the build up to the song’s chorus. At the risk of exhausting the obvious Incubus and The Mars Volta similarities, the vocals simply don’t permit mention without comparison. Ranging from Brandon Boyd tones in the verses and slower sections to the high pitched wailing of Cedric Bixler-Zavala in the frantic choruses, the vocals are an undoubted highlight and are likely to play a key role in any commercial success The Sunpilots may have.

Although The Sunpilots sometimes come off as a polished version of varying influences, all an album arguably needs to be to achieve success is to be highly accomplished and proficient rather than original. To suggest that this is merely a mashing of styles however would be doing the band a great disservice, as The Sunpilots have packaged groovy rhythm sections into altogether more complicated song structures, resulting in a diverse and thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Official Site

Track List:

  1. Prologue: 3 Minutes to Midnight
  2. Chapter I: King of the Sugarcoated Tongues
  3. Chapter II: The Captain
  4. Chapter III: God Science
  5. Chapter IV: Sex and TV
  6. Chapter V: Rain
  7. Chapter VI: The Piper's Mirror
  8. Chapter VII: Exodus

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