Sun Araw: “Beach Head”

Sometime before Christmas, I mentioned an artist called Sun Araw whose 12-inch, “Boat Trip”, I was very keen on. Happily, I’ve now got hold of his most recent album, “Beach Head”, and I’m pleased to say that’s awesome, too.

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Sometime before Christmas, I mentioned an artist called Sun Araw whose 12-inch, “Boat Trip”, I was very keen on. Happily, I’ve now got hold of his most recent album, “Beach Head”, and I’m pleased to say that’s awesome, too.



Sun Araw, it seems, is the solo project of a Californian guy called Cameron Stallones who, as I mentioned last time, is part of the very neat Magic Lantern (just got hold of their first LP on Woodsis, too, which suggests they might be hearty descendants of Comets On Fire, which is obviously fine with me). Again, in that previous blog I went on a fair bit about tribal psych dirge or whatever and mentioned he’d been compared with Panda Bear (a bit of a stretch), then went further myself and made a comparison with New Kingdom.

Anyway, “Beach Head” is basically more of the same. The thermometer just before Old Street roundabout measured -2°C when I went past it on the bus this morning, so the jungle squawks and prevailing mugginess of these four long tracks was, I guess, a bit of an odd soundtrack. But actually, it sounded perfect: measured, hypnotic and ideal for travelling, even if your ultimate destination is the office rather than the Heart Of Darkness or whatever.

There’s some spidery freakout guitar in the distance from time to time, mingling with the creaking organ and strangulated distant chants. What keeps grabbing me, though, is that sort of holy processional thump and an incredibly unfunky, lugubrious treatment of funk that reminds me of Sunburned Hand Of The Man at their most linear and maggot-brained, especially of “Jaybird” I guess. Further out, there’s an amazing psych album from early ’70s Brazil by Lula Cortes & Ze Ramalho called “Paêbirú” which suggests Amon Duul relocated to the Amazon fainforest. There’s some of that vibe here, too.

I have Stallones’ first LP, “The Phynx”, which is reputedly as dreamy, though I’m too hooked on “Boat Trip” and “Beach Head” to move on to it just yet. Will report back, as ever.

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