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Despite (perhaps) being the band’s most accessible & melodic work to date, New York quartet Sunwatchers‘ fourth album "Oh Yeah?" arrives in a flurry of notes with the buzzing hum of “Sunwatchers vs. Tooth Decay”; the title referencing a 1976 album featuring athlete and activist Muhammad Ali. A cheeky nod to be sure, but laced with the utmost reverence. This attitude sums up Sunwatchers’ aesthetic in a nutshell; the acknowledgement (typically via the band’s irreverent song titles or album art) that the things in life we should take seriously are better faced and understood when disarmed by a wink or nudge. The band may cloak their fiery activism in a jester’s outfit, but it does nothing to dull the force of their attack. The one-two punch of “Love Paste” & “Brown Ice” hits next, with the former’s tender opening melody punctuated by exuberant “WOO!”s while the latter launches into an urgent, stuttering march that utilizes an effective musical wind-up and release, ratcheting up a ferocious intensity across its near six minute runtime. “Thee Worm Store” closes out the first side, beginning with a lumbering synth growl, until it picks up speed and ends as a frantic noisy free-for-all. Side two strides forth with“The Conch”, an obvious ‘Lord of The Flies’ reference, and a delicious subversion of the idea of a “hero’s anthem” weighted down by the trappings of tribalism. The album’s showstopper however is “The Earthsized Thumb”, the near twenty-minute closing track. Guitarist Jim McHugh lays down a hypnotic Saharan guitar melody as the rest of the band ushers themselves in one by one over the tune’s distinct musical movements, a “Quick One” for all the heads perhaps?
The album’s title “Oh Yeah?” is at once an homage to Mingus, Thee Oh Sees’ album “Help” (whose Brigid Dawson hand-sewed the tapestry adorning the album’s front cover) and (naturally) the rallying cry of KoolBrave himself - the Kool-Aid Man-as-Braveheart avatar the band adopted as their symbol. The three years since the band’s second album (and TiM debut) “II” was released, has seen the band grace stages across the USA and Europe, enlisting more comrades in their mission of solidarity (sonically speaking) with every show.
released April 10, 2020
Peter Kerlin: bass guitar, 8-string bass guitar
Jim McHugh: guitars / electric phin
Jason Robira: drums
Jeff Tobias: alto saxophone, keyboards, whistling
Produced by Alex Berthelot
Recorded in August 2019 at The Outlier Inn in Sullivan County, NY
Engineer: Josh Druckman
Mixed by Alex Berthelot & Sunwatchers at Studio G in Brooklyn, NY
Mastered by Sarah Register
All songs by Sunwatchers
DRONES AGAINST DRONES MUSIC BMI, 2020
"Oh Yeah" quilt by Brigid Dawson
Photography: Isaac Schell
Love and Acknowledgement we send along with these songs to comrades, collaborators, supporters, friends and family - blood and chosen - across the world. Our fundamental goal as musicians is to create art that fights alienation, forges an atmosphere of radical empathy and acceptance, and endows our audience with an instinct towards action.
Thank you for listening, engaging and participating.
Sunwatchers Stand In Solidarity With The Dispossessed, Impoverished and Embattled People of The World.
Sales and proceeds from this and all our other albums go to benefit prison-abolition and anti-carceral-state advocates and organizations.
Some of the most liberating music to come out during this oppressive year... thank you Horse Lords for freeing my mind and limbs. Probably tied for my AOTY along with Anna Von Hausswolf’s new record Benjamin Jelinek