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The Sun - Love and Death

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Artist: The Sun

Album: Love and Death

Label: Warner Brothers

Review date: Apr. 2, 2003

Global Hottening

The Sun sounds like Hot Hot Heat, and after due speculation on the trend of garage-revival bands with warmth-related names, a correlation was not as relevant as I had hoped. The Sun's debut EP, Love and Death, is hot enough in its own way, but for the purposes of staying on topic I will leave out all half-baked theories and digressions from this point on.

Love and Death is, simply put, eighteen minutes of raucous fun harkening back to various points in history when having fun was more acceptable. The Sun distinguish themselves a little less than Hot Hot Heat did with last year's Make Up the Breakdown, but the atmosphere remains the same: a spirited throwback to the days of the Clash and XTC, mixing all-out rockers with a few sober moments for good measure. The rollicking immediacy of "Fell So Hard" starts things off as noisily and joyously, throwing Chris Burney's faintly raspy yelp and a series of whoops, screams and singalongs atop an almost breakneck mess of guitars, cymbals, and the odd barroom piano line. After two minutes it's already time to calm things down to the dubby "Rock Stop," a repetitive and reverb-filled workout that smacks of the Clash and the English Beat (although with a strangely fitting synth whistle à la The Chronic).

A call-and-response motif comes to light in the next two songs, "Love and Death" and "Carry It All," with Burney singing verses behind more reverb and answered by a crew of male voices. The latter, along with "Back in the Summer of '72," almost ooze a sweaty yet glamorous sort of masculinity, if only by their frenzied vocal abandonment and their use of organ. As if taken with that sexuality (the heat, if you will), even the Dylanesque closer "Eyelids Apart" begins a bit randy, once again trading Burney's lone voice with collective echoes; but now his voice trembles glumly when alone, no longer competing with any noise, just a carefully picked guitar. The morose ending of Love and Death contrasts heavily with the bright urgency of "Fell So Hard," yet it doesn't quite feel out of place; rather, the EP seems to have run its course decisively and quickly, as though tracing a love affair from its incendiary beginning to a gloomy conclusion. (Hence the love and the death, I suppose, each in its turn.)

The ending aside, much of Love and Death traverses heavily-trodden paths, although not in any glaringly offensive way. It's not especially profound either, with unremarkable lyrics and couplets rhyming "my heart stops" with "my heart drops," but The Sun’s characteristics — the glee, the libido, the confidence — don't demand much in the way of eloquence.

By Daniel Levin Becker

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