Sun Gangs (04.09, Beggars Group)
Byline: A half-backed follow up of a surprise 2006 hit.
For: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, The Walkmen, Kid Dakota
I am not really sure how to write about albums that don't really strike me. Most of my posts thus far have been gushing reviews of music that either rocked my world or left me with a pleasant feeling of satisfaction. I am not saying that Sun Gangs does not do that to some degree, the problem is that it is too few and far between. I guess I can start off with my list of complaints: First, the song writing has some beautiful moments, "born from the night and the roaring wind/cast out of the shadows by an unknown hand/warmed by the light of it's falling limbs/drunk on the sadness of a universe unmanned". But that is about it, a majority are hackneyed lines rhyming "remember" with "last december", something about "three sisters burning", and "following the light from long dead stars". Finn Andrew's barely controlled post-punk snottiness, which is all up in your face and par for the times in 2006, sounds wearied and done before in 2009. Like the latest reincarnation of the Sex Pistols, it sounds like John Lydon going through the motions. Where Andrews finds his strength is in the stirring ballads like "Sit Down by the Fire" and "Sun Gangs". His Aussie-by-way-of-London baritone is a worthy predecessor to the almighty Nick Cave. Like Cave his ballads are beautiful, baroque pieces but unlike Cave when Andrews wants to get messy and eff things up it sounds like a bad Les Savy Fav cover band. For all his ramshackle folk, post-punk posturing he fails to scare and all he riled up was my itchy skip track finger. Next time The Veils! Don't give up! Nux Vomica shook me up when I first heard it!