Monday, June 01, 2009

Sun Gods in Exile - Black Light, White Lines

Sun Gods in Exile
Black Light, White Lines
Small Stone

Portland has always been a hotbed of musical madness. Oh, wait, we’re talking about Portland, Maine, not Oregon. Well, I can’t speak to the music fertility of that region in general, but I can speak to one sliver of it in particular: Sun Gods in Exile. The bonecrunching/chewing/swallowing quartet reminds me of the late, great Four Horsemen, as obsessed with Lynyrd Skynyrd as Aerosmith. Adam Hitchcock and Tony D’Agostino slather every inch of these songs with six-string glaze, letting riffs, solos and power chords do most of the communicating. But not all of it; tracks like The Gripper, Hellwell and Eye For An Eye boast actual tunes, the kind that would work with acoustic guitars (though why anybody’d want that I dunno). 495, meanwhile, is the kind of classic, lighter-waving, concert anthem no one (but these guys) writes this well anymore. It doesn’t hurt that Hitchcock sounds like Alice Cooper when he was still drunk, arrogant and unChristian. Sure, you’ve heard this stuff before, but SGiE boasts a palpable enthusiasm and an inherent tunefulness that sets the band apart from the heavy rock pack. Maybe growing up in isolation in that other Portland was a good thing after all.

- Michael Toland

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