Dusted Reviews

Sunburned Hand of the Man - Rare Wood

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Sunburned Hand of the Man

Album: Rare Wood

Label: Spirit Of Orr

Review date: Jun. 29, 2004

Sunburned Hand of the Man seems to be doing everything backwards. After numerous CD-Rs and LP-only releases, and several years of building a reputation for its blistering live show, SHOTM has finally released its first legitimate (non-CD-R) CD, Rare Wood on the Spirit of Orr label. Made up of five lengthy improvised tracks, Rare Wood amounts to its least accessible and worst material to date.

Of course, the members of Sunburned couldn’t care less about how you’re supposed to do things, but newcomers will most likely not care about Rare Wood enough to dig deeper into the band’s vast back catalogue – which is a real shame.

Some of SHOTM’s earlier releases contained a much stronger sense of melody and structure, and at times it looked like the band might get lumped in with the whole new “weird folk” genre. There is the chance that the band considered this the kiss of death. Fear of popularity is a very real thing. If the band were approaching things in a way that made any sense, they might have chosen to release a “best of” from their collection of CD-Rs and LPs.

The opener “Easy Wind,” recorded at KDVS in Davis, California, starts with several aimless synth gurgles, before the delayed, unintelligible vocals start in. Tambourines and guitars rattle and writhe around like dead animals – limp and uninspired.

“Gyp Hawkin’” begins with a Can-inspired minimal percussion track, and various sound effects enter and leave at will. Guitars and synths, frogs croaking and random screams enter in the background, as well as some very questionable record-scratching. The intended effect seems to be spooky, but it just doesn’t work. Three other lengthy, meandering tracks follow as SHOTM come off as some sort of jam band from an alternate universe.

When this type of music (fok-informed drone improv?) is done well (Jackie-O Motherfucker, No-Neck Blues Band, other SHOTM releases) it can leave a profound and lasting effect on the listener, but Rare Wood leaves nothing. It is completely devoid of emotional impact. Perhaps that was Sunburned’s desired result all along.

By Daniel M. Gill

Other Reviews of Sunburned Hand of the Man


The Trickle Down Theory of Lord Knows What

Bootleg LP



Fire Escape

Read More

View all articles by Daniel M. Gill

Find out more about Spirit Of Orr

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.