Mr. Sun by Homeless Apians is a fantastic album of melodic prog-alternative rock. The fact that it was made using recycled material for instruments like a picture-slide box guitar, washtub bass and Tom Waits-ish percussion and recorded on solar power is intriguing and worthwhile in the production and performance.
Opening the record is “Crickets In The Cold” with pings of metallic percussion, ostinado guitar parts and bell-like tones in the melody. Moving through multiple time signatures, the song acts as a good overture for the rest of the album showing off instrumental prowess. Vocals enter halfway through the song with MGMT-like inflections. “Heavy Mouth” is an alternative rock song based around palm muted guitar arpeggios and a descending vocal line. The bowed washtub bass works as an aggressive but supportive element, and the harmonized guitar solo that swirls and explodes in extremely well thought out.
“Godsun” moves from trippy psychedelia to hardcore thrash with rapid guitar runs and a very clever lyric. “Keeps” is driven by an excellent contrapuntal bass line and rapid rim clicks on the drums. The vocal inflections reflect an Alice In Chains influence. Like “Godsun,” “Keeps” moves through different feels and grooves throughout from quiet fingerpicked guitar to the full band pushing the song along. “Canned 4get U is a short interlude in 9/4 with humorous overtones and works as a great transition to the second half of the album.
“Shep’s Encounter” is an instrumental with flamenco-like guitar hits and rhythms. Bowed saws act almost like ghostly pedal steel guitars and the quasi-clave metallic sounds in the background give an interesting polyrhythm to the song. “Submarines” blends ‘90s Britpop with occasional Zappa-esque instrumental breaks with some Neutral Milk Hotel and Flaming Lips in the mix as well. Along with explosive drums throughout, the glockenspiel is also prominent “Apeology” is a math-rock prog track a la System Of A Down with spoken word and (appropriately) primal screaming. “Naked Hide” has a great snare tone and thrashes through in a ‘90s alt-rock way.
The album closes with “Abigail (It’s Not My Fault That You Cried)” a Santo & Johnny like doo-wop song with bowed saw replacing steel guitar. The only song in one time signature, it seems like it could be out of nowhere, but the obvious Zappa influence throughout the rest of the album means that a Ruben & The Jets homage couldn’t be far behind.
Each song on the album starts with a sample or spoken word bit. While some of these are effective, the only drawback to the album is that they become routine and somewhat distracting at times by using them on every song. Other than that, the album is extremely well written, performed and produced. The performances are passionate and clever and the band has a lot to offer.
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