Tuesday, November 2

Record Review: Sun Araw [Off Duty, Woodsist]

by Jennifer Graciano

Sun Araw’s “Off Duty” (Woodist) will take you on an epic journey through the psychedelic wilderness California native Cameron Stallones has proved time and time again, he knows so well. Be prepared to jump head first into an uproar as the opening track Last Chants, greets your ears with an explosion of sound. The almost overwhelming buzz smoothes over before you know it and you'll find your head bobbing along to Stallones’ chanting alongside a groovy clamor. The peculiar assortment of sounds is refreshing and oddly soothing, giving the track a mysteriously captivating quality. Stallone is a master shaman--effectively communicating with the spiritual world through the use of clouded vocals, sick guitar licks, and continuous thuds. The space-age funk takes over for most of Last Chants and eases out…as one by one, sounds disperse and come to an immediate stop.

Barely audible at first, as if submerged in deep water, Midnight Locker quickly bubbles to the surface..only to expose itself as a truly magnificent composition. The gloomy feel is undeniable and is amplified as Stallones’ voice echoes throughout, laying a dense veil over an already heavy rhythm. A sinking feeling may come over you as scattered percussion and eerie chords envelope you in the loveliest of ways.

Deep Temple may be the strongest track off of “Off Duty,” as everything which makes Sun Araw a standout act is incorporated in those eleven minutes and thirty seconds. The all too familiar “afro-beat” and “tropical” feel associated with Stallones returns with a slightly different spin. "On Patrol" (Not Not Fun) held the same gurgling tropics, which can be heard on tracks such as Beat Cop and Deep Cover.. yet lack the richness Deep Temple offers. Stallones’ skill with a guitar is definite, overtaking the song sporadically as chords pierce through the various battling sounds beautifully.

Two tracks: In The Trees and Canopy from Sun Araw’s 2008 EP “Boat Trip,” round out the newer tracks as the journey has come to a close. The drone behind In The Trees and procession-like quality to Canopy serve as a perfect conclusion to “Off Duty.”

Stallones has set up these songs in such a way that they resemble a stream of consciousness rather than five independent tracks. The way these pieces fit together effortlessly call to attention just what an excellent musician Cameron Stallones really is. His ability to create strikingly catchy tunes without sacrificing his notoriously enthralling tempos creates a world full of alluring mystique, making “Off Duty” an essential in any music library.

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