The Sun Explodes – We Build Mountains


At the time of the release of the excellent debut album Emergence, we suggested its only flaw was that there was too much going on within the release which constantly wrong footed the listener so they at times were not allowed to settle into a track and find and truly appreciate the glories within. It did not stop the record from being one of the brightest and most promising releases at that time. Well UK rockers The Sun Explodes have returned with its successor We Build Mountains and the same creative invention and imagination, but this time it works perfectly. Yes each song twists and turns like a sonic lap dancer but it is a seamless and fluid course of adventure which not only unveils each imaginative treat with clarity but brings the tracks into one singular sultry landscape of unpredictable scenery.

The Carlisle based quintet has also realised all that suggested promise too, the songwriting and music a massive leap forward and it was not exactly unimpressive to start with. This is a band with a sure maturity and though already availing our ears of a striking level of musicianship previously they have equally elevated that to remarkable craft and efficiency. Labelling their sounds is a waste of time as each song offers a new wealth and wash of distinct and enterprising flavours but let us just say the band seduce and snarl at the senses with scintillating effect and employ as many tastes of rock and at times metal you could dream of. Quite simply the union of vocalist/keyboardist Dave MacLachlan, guitarists/backing vocalists Alex Harris and Alex Adamson, bassist Mike Walker, and drummer Jamie Harris have sculpted and produced one of the biggest highlights of the year.

Opener Fear of Falling tempts our ears with a gentle tease of guitar and enthralling vocals from MacLachlan backed wonderfully by the Webuildmountains-squareformattwo guitarists Harris and Adamson, this will not be the last time they all impress this way either. As the melodic tendrils of the song wrap tenderly around thoughts the rhythms of drummer Harris make crisp patterns within their breeze ensuring an energy is brewed and poise to explode in the subsequent metallic and bruising squall of sound and harsh/harmonic vocals. Throughout its narrative the song feels like it is setting something up whether the theme, atmosphere, intent of the album, possibly all but its emotive and heated impact is unquestionable in respect to potency and intrigue.

The strong start is soon left in the slipstream of the title track. It is a towering stomp of keen acidic riffs, snapping rhythms, and a melodic mystique that permeates sound and vocals. It is also irrepressibly contagious especially when it allows its sinews to barrack the senses within sonic sabre cuts of guitar. There is a familiarity to it which whispers throughout but a recognition which stems from previous songs like Honour Bound which is only welcome. As rife in their previous album, the song allows you to think you have the handle on its intent, its course, but no chance as suddenly The Sun Explodes juggles everything into a tirade of metalcore like spite. It is a riveting conclusion to an outstanding song and gives a tough ask of next up A Thousand Fires to emulate. The spread of beats leads in an electro like ambience lined with again rich colour fuelled guitar. Expanding to an emotively crafted sunset of reflective embraces entwined with picture painting melodic endeavour, the track is an enticing flame which burns stronger and more vibrantly the further into its almost turbulent depths you search whilst drawing a bigger impossible to refuse  persuasion each time you run its flume of passion.

The pair of Machines Pt.1 and Pt.2 provides another emotionally charged canvas, the first a short expressive lead of predominantly vocals and keys into the second rousing part. As guitars and again the vocals of MacLachlan cast their influential presence over thoughts and feelings the band build a spire of dramatic yet understated sentiment which flourishes within the rising heat and incendiary air of the track. The pair has to be taken together and is probably the least accessible moment on the album at first but incredibly rewarding when given time and attention.

SevenThreeOne launches itself at the ear with a tempest of discord seeping disruptive rhythmic rain egged on by an equally disorientating sonic burst. Reeling under its brilliant assault the ear is then taken through a maelstrom of eccentric diversions, metallic animosity, and experimental ingenious enterprise. It is a constant shift of gait and invention which only enthrals and incites limbs and passions to play alongside. It works because there is a constant core to the song which even though it also twists and turns to mesmerise and leave the listener unable to settle, it ensures they are pulled into the heart of it all. The best track on the album and there are a few contenders, it most of all shows how much the band has evolved on their earlier triumph.

After the brief near instrumental Lamia with a spoken sample walking its ambient shard of melodic suggestion the closing Serpentine explores thoughts and emotions further. Again it is best to see the tracks as one though whether that was the intent the band will have to be asked, and maybe it would have been better to just have Lamia as the intro to the final song as adrift it does seem a little out of place. The intensive wrap of the last song provokes senses and feelings into play yet again. Vocals and melodies dance with them in a slow waltz of contemplative elegance and inciting heat to create a delicious aural musing, a sunset of sonic earnestness and melodic hues which intoxicatingly brings the album to rest.

The Sun Explodes stand as one of the most important bands in UK rock and We Build Mountains the reason why we can make that declaration. If you thought this band was immense before than be prepared to be awe struck and if this is your first acquaintance with them, you have a real treat in store.


RingMaster 30/07/2013

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