The Soundtrack to Destroy Paradise
For their fourth album, California psych rock quartet Sleepy Sun toy with those descriptors. Maui Tears trades some of the extended jams of previous albums for tighter song structure and shorter song lengths. Intact are their influences– ’70s rock (the psych-ier parts) with hints of ’90s alternative.
Right from the get-go, opening track “The Lane” uses fuzzy guitars and a soft-loud dynamic for some alt-rock nostalgia. Singer Bret Constantino’s vocals evoke “She Don’t Use Jelly”-era Wayne Coyne framed with Perry Farrell’s phrasing. The band taps this sound on the best tracks here. “1132” — a star cut right in the middle — bleeds noise, crunchy guitars and squealing feedback. “Galaxy Punk,” true to its title, is the shortest song, sung with bratty anarchism before deflating and petering out.
Despite these flashes of a semi-recent time gone by, Sleepy Sun’s heart remains in the psych rock of the ’70s. “Everywhere Waltz” layers echoey, dreamy vocals over a simple, clean drum march before splicing it apart with guitars to peel paint by. “Outside” and “Slowdown” pour on the synth and the oohs and aahs to create space and a sense of disconnection for the listener.
However, Sleepy Sun save the full-on psych jam for the end. The title track clocks in at 10:30, creeping in with a slow chill. The bass keeps things moving joined by light taps on a ride with a few notes on guitar ringing out every other measure or so. Distant, indistinct whispers build until the doom descends. Guitars empower the storm, gathering strength, threatening the calm. Apropos to the title, the paradise is ruined, but the destruction sounds so good.