Recorded live in Notting Pill Studios, Newport, 6—7 February 2007. Additional engineering, mixed and mastered by Ben Williams and Suns of Thunder. Produced by Suns of Thunder. Lyrics by Greg Bombroffe. All songs written and recorded by Suns of Thunder.
* The inlay card calls the final song on this EP “MCLARENS HOLY GHOSTt” (in two places), the CD back inlay calls it “MCLARENS HOLY SMOKE”. Suns of Thunder’s MySpace page also goes with “Ghost”, so ghost it is.
What can I say that hasn’t already been written about this debut EP from UK rockers Suns of Thunder? It mostly sounds like Clutch. A lot like Clutch.
The opening title track “Gimme some more” is a bit deceptive. When the first few high energy riffs rang out of my speakers I sighed a little: just another chord-bangin’, guitar-hammerin’, indistinct rock-by-numbers band I thought. But as the track progressed they started mixing things up, time changes, a groove-changing triplet here and a bit of southern, stoner feel to the song began to emerge.
On track two Suns of Thunder come clean and show their hand: they sound like Clutch! “The curse of the mothertruckers” could easily be a b-side on any single from Clutch’s 2005 album Robot Hive/Exodus. Everything from the song title to the crazy lyrics to the way the chorus stops suddenly and vocalist Greg Bombroffe drawls “the curse of the mothertruckers” screams Clutch.
Track three, “A funeral for a trend”, has a bit more of a slow start, a laid-back warm-up jam for about a third of the song. It builds to a gentle riff at 2’43” for about 20 seconds before falling back again to a jam. Singing doesn’t start until five minutes in, another Clutch-like southern groove with a very Neil Fallon-esque “good ship lollipop” lyric.
Finally, “McLaren’s Holy Ghost” (or “McLaren’s Holy Smoke” depending on which part of the packaging you read) kicks off with a distinctly lo-fi guitar and drums machine-gun riff before bass and organ bludgeon their way into the mix. (I mean that in a good way!) The vocals on this song have a kind of late-80s/early-90s funk/rap-crossover vibe to them which seems rather incongruous with the rest of the EP, but it kind of works.
I think it’s often unfair to liken one band to another, even if it’s true, because your expectations change and you close your ears to hearing what’s unique about that band. It’s also a little unfair to criticise a release where all the songs are quite different from one another, even if there is a connecting theme (that they all sound a bit like Clutch!) that joins them together. If all the songs were the same you’d criticise them, if they were all different you’d do the same: you can’t win.
In the end, for me it always comes down to two things: did I like it, and would I listen to it again? The answer to both questions is yes. It’s a loud, fun, rocking EP. I’ll definitely be looking out for them in the future. Gimme some more, indeed.
Review score: 70%