SUNGRAZER (Mirador) LP/CD
Up to the present I've not had SUNGRAZER on my list. I did not pay much attention to their debut and I must say quite honestly that I had less interest in listening to their music. Now don't ask me why, because I don't know. But now, as I received their new record 'Mirador', I changed my mind. Still, I don't know the debut full-length, but 'Mirador' is a beautiful album with lots of great moments and very few weak points. Hailing from the Netherlands, SUNGRAZER creates high quality, juicy, earthy, fat and crunchy heavy neo-psych rock without sounding like they're trying very hard at all. There is clarity through the heaviness and the mix is nicely balanced between Rutger Smeets' fuzzy guitar chops, warm low end pulsations and the thudding drums and splashy cymbal work of Hans Mulders. All this is held together by the liquid basslines of Sander Haagmans who builds the foundation for each of the included seven tracks.
Their ability to stick to a groove and play it out is flawless. Then there is also the fact that SUNGRAZER is good at playing with a wide range of dynamics. The result offers an interesting contrast between almost fragile passages and massive riff-driven parts which integrate seamlessly together. There's lots of muscially pleasing stuff here, as the songs breezily sail forward, without one plain or unworthy musical moment occuring. No, sorry, just a moment - unfortunately I was wrong. To me, 'Goldstrike' is the weakest song here due to its strong similarities to Queens Of The Stone Age. It goes without saying that I have a distinct aversion to this band.
But for the rest I am enthusiastic about 'Mirador', even if I can notice more QotSA influences but they also don't particularly bother me, simply because the album is so energetic, hypnotic, atmospheric and powerful all at the same time. SUNGRAZER always allow themselves some time for the development of their epic cuts. So, if you're looking for straight-lined three-minute long rock 'n' roll songs, you will find nothing. However, this does not mean that SUNGRAZER do not rock. Yes, they do, but in their own ways. In the process the music is enriched with psychoactive ingredients, which gives you the feeling of being an explorer, discovering the far ends of the world. In addition, 'Mirador' has a warm and cozy atmosphere that invites the listener to wind-down. Accordingly the clear vocals are restrained and fit in well with the laid back grooves of this album. Incidentally, SUNGRAZER manages the balancing act between the nineteen-seventies and the present times. With each play this one builds new synapses and maintains an edge and a freshness that some others don't have. Cool stuff!