Kicking off reviews for 2021 in February, bypassing January completely, in the midst of a snowstorm the likes of which has not been seen in these parts in ages. Fitting, really. What better company than that of an old friend? I am speaking of the new record by England’s Sunstack Jones. A group that is equal parts Americana and British psychedelia. All these things and more. The band enjoys a loose association with The Verve’s Simon Jones (no relation), who has lent his recording techniques to the latest records by Sunstack Jones (no relation). All joking aside, this is a fruitful collaboration that has drawn out the band’s strengths. Paul Den Heyer once again is involved in the final mixes, giving the new album a familiar vibe from previous albums. That being said, Golden Repair is the finest album yet from Sunstack Jones. Not many bands can say that at this stage in their career.
The first thing I noticed about the new record was that it is both looser and tighter than previous records. Not contrasting statements – the band is operating in sync, in perfect harmony. Think of Buffalo Springfield or Ocean Colour Scene at their peak powers. Speaking of Ocean Colour Scene, there is nasty guitar licks throughout the album that reminds me quite a bit of the Moseley Shoals era. Or maybe, just maybe….it sounds like The Verve just a bit. At any rate – this is some great, great stuff. Extended instrumental passages that lock into a groove and never lets go. Classic.
Where You Gonna Go opens the record and could serve as an encapsulation of the entire record. Harmonies galore, laid back instrumentation – this starts out sounding like the songs we’ve come to know and love from Sunstack Jones. There’s nothing wrong with that – truly. But something curious happens around the 4-minute mark – a guitar refrain segues into a full jam session – for another 3 ½ minutes or so. That’s right, they opened the album with an almost 8-minute track. Ballsy. How It All Went Down is a slice of breezy Americana that is also a single from the album. It isn’t quite as hard edged as the opener, but it strikes a nice balance between the old sounds and the new. As a single, it makes perfect sense. Nowhere Near An Ocean sounds like my worst nightmare. And the guitar lick in this record makes that dark dream come true. It is one of the songs on the record that just absolutely kills – harder edged than they’ve been in the past. Golden Repair is the title track and is another psychedelic masterpiece. Hints of Love, hints of Beachwood Sparks, but completely unique. The confidence in the songs on this record is striking – there’s an over 3-minute intro to a 5-minute song. It’s incredible. Almost Hear The City closes the record on a strong note – harmonies, jams, and the band locked in a groove. Much how we started and yet it is a strength, not a weakness.
Golden Repair is out now and comes highly recommended. In fact, I consider it the band’s masterpiece. I am looking forward to what comes next. You can pick up the album here.
For Fans of: The Verve, Buffalo Springfield, Mojave 3, Ocean Colour Scene
- Where You Gonna Go
- How It All Went Down
- Nowhere Near An Ocean
- Glass Boat
- Golden Repair
- Almost Hear The City