Thursday, February 16, 2017

Album Review: Sun Volt- Notes of Blue

Sun Volt
Notes of Blue
*** and 1/2 out of *****

The eighth studio album from the Jay Farrar led Sun Volt is a short burst of their Americana laced rock sound as Notes of Blue stands firm lean and true.

Farrar's lead vocals are terse and while there are flashes of Neil Young in delivery and songwriting the band has incorporated lots of sounds, but sticks to the main avenues of american popular music of the last eighty plus years. The opener "Promise of the World" and "Cairo and Southerners" are the most laid back tracks on the disk as a gloomy pedal steel sets the tone on the early song and a sense of resignation infuses the latter with acoustic picking and sparse piano.

"Back Against The Wall" is an ode to persistence and can be reflective of the current cultural political scene, of the bands career or of life in general as fuzzy guitars ring out. That blaring energy seeps into the next track "Static" that is aptly titled as gritty guitars buzz and white noise rage penetrates the speakers. "Lost Souls" also kicks up the rocking feel with slapping snares and strutting riffs to start before exploding into a full sonic gale to close.

The blues take center stage on a number of tracks as well, but these aren't your back porch summer time blues, there is an apocalyptic current running through all the tracks. "Cherokee St." has a swampy back woods aggression as the pace quickens, "The Storm" focuses on picking and sliding while "Midnight" plunges into the chaos and depths of the soul.  Closer "Threads and Steel" could be about the devil himself as the twanging blues smolders ending the disk on a creepy note.      

The track "Sinking Down" seems to combine all of what Sun Volt does well on this album as the tempo shifts between rocking and reflective over blues tinged lyrics and a sense of futility but one with a keen sense of melody and rhythm.

Combining country rambles, bluesy riffs and rock stomps the band shines confidently on Notes of Blue. While there is no standout individual offering, the overall sound of the disk will be welcoming to long time fans of the group and newcomers alike.
Support the band, buy the album, stream for a limited time over at NPR and peep some video below:

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