The Salt, The Sea and The Sun God are a band from Utah comprised of Dakota Miller (voice, guitar, piano), CJ Sweeten (bass, guitar), Mitch Hawkins (drums, percussion) and Stephen Cope (additional voice, piano, percussion) that recently released an exceptional album entitled It’s All For You. Miller is the circus leader of the crew and an enigmatic front man who naturally manipulates his vocal style from song to song. I normally wouldn’t be much of a fan of this but Miller is something special (more on this later).
The music itself is original, experimental, lo-fi rock and pop that is eclectic and at the same time accessible. Each song has its own unique vibe but never feels too far-gone from each other. In some ways I was reminded of the Flaming Lips in how they implement a playful, quirky but meaningful sentiment to the song.
The album starts with “-It's-,” which is only about a-minute-and-a-half long but it shouldn’t be skipped over. A guitar plays an unlikely combination of notes that sound great together before an intense wave of white noise, crashing drums and synths plow through your cerebral cavities. The first song peaked my curiosity but the second song “I Know I Do” gained my attention. It starts with a beautiful mess of noise that Miller sings over but at about the two minute mark the band becomes more than a noise band. They break it down and strip away intensity with a playful combination of guitars, banjo and more. What makes this moment work so well is the contrasting elements of the music which are sweet, emphathetic and tender and are juxtaposed against MiIler’s voice, which sounds as if he is yearning and on the verge of tears as he sings.
“Love Snake Tongue” is ultimately a pop song although Miller’s vocals aren’t radio friendly. A beautiful thing if you ask me. Another clear highlight was “When The Sound,” which sounds a bit like Animal Collective if they had traded in their sampler for guitars. Miller sings in a subdued gnome-like voice here against one of the most creatively enjoyable guitar lines on the album.
Make sure not to skip “Wait.” The vocals are defined and sung in a lower octave. I was addicted to the vocal harmonies almost instantly. They close with the almost-nine-minute epic “Heavy Stone.” I’m going to say just hit play and enjoy.
The only minor critique I have is that I wish the production was a little less lo-fi at times. When they hit it hard it not only sounds lo-fi but narrow as well. It’s All For You is an exceptional record, so take some time to enjoy it.
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