Playing a fuzzed up brand of stoner-meets-garage-meets-psychedelic, Sun Q sound like they would be part of the new breed of Nordic bands rapidly gaining a following, but instead of Norway, Finland, Sweden etc, they are actually from Russia, Moscow to be precise. There’s still so much of Russian culture and day to day life that is kept under wraps that when a band from Russia appears on the horizon, one tends to sit up and take notice, especially when the band stops you in your tracks like Sun Q. So many bands could give you a starting point of what to expect from Sun Q, but think Blues Pills, The Black Keys, Rival Sons and a bit of classic Zeppelin thrown in for good measure, and you won’t be too wide of the mark. Vocalist Elena Tiron has a gentle, warm, and dreamy voice that is impossible to resist. It washes over the listener with a quiet reassurance and calming effect. This is a blissful album that is perfect for chilling out to, or grooving out to, depending on your mood.
‘Petals And Thorns’ is a fantastic opener. Heaps of guitar effects kick the album off, with some nice Zeppelin eastern vibes throughout. ‘Kashmir’ still influencing generations decades on, it seems. Ivan Shalimov is the man to thank for the cosmic guitar playing. He is phenomenal, and as he peels away each layer, I melt further into the couch. Fuzzy in a Scott Holiday kind of way, but way more trippy than Rival Sons. I can imagine that it might be hard to transfer some of the guitar sounds from the album onto the live stage though. ‘After This’ has such a killer groove that burrows deep into the soul, you’ll be humming it for weeks after. Again, the guitar licks are mammoth, the drums from Pavel Potseluev sharp, and Tiron sings with such joie de vivre that it’s impossible not be sucked in. Along with the uptempo ‘Plankton’, this is the band at their most commercial. In between these songs you’ll find some fine examples of the band stretching out and getting comfortable.
‘Dancing Souls’ would be perfect on the soundtrack for the revisit to Twin Peaks. Torch song vocals from Tiron, and a spacey, cool breeze of a mid section. ‘Secret Ways’ is far bluesier and possesses a bit of a kick. Again, it’s the killer guitar sound from Shalimov that really stands out. After the mellow vibes of ‘Space’, the fuzz comes back with the funkily named ‘Jimmy The Pirate’. Tiron produces a vocal performance that is both alluring and sinister, drawing you in, only to slap you across the face. Psychedelic to the max, it’s mesmerising, as is closing track ‘Winter Lady’, which, in places, reminds me of classic early Heart.
If Sun Q are an example of what the Russian rock scene is like, then it truly is an untapped market. This is a strong debut album, the sound of a band ready to sprout wings and make a big noise on the scene.
PS: Check out the cool cover art. Now how good would that look on vinyl?
Review – Dave Stott