A heavy dose of pulsing bass; a repeat prescription of loose drums; a shot of fuzz-laden guitars – all wrapped up in dusky slow grooves and throbbing riffs. It sounds like the perfect recipe for some eye-glazing stoner rock: so why do Sideburn still sometimes sound like they aren't quite hitting the right notes for stoner heaven?
Clearly, there is nothing inherently wrong with a band not neatly fitting into lazily worded genre pigeonholes – it is often actively laudable and good. Music would be much the poorer if The Beatles had scrapped Revolver because it didn't quite fit with what the Beach Boys were doing at the time, or if Black Sabbath had decided that their debut was, well, not quite upbeat enough for a Rock'n'Roll record.
The trouble that Sideburn have is that their genre bending often falls short of feeling like deliberate synthesis, instead coming out a little muddled. The main culprit in this is the lyrics and their vocal delivery. Whilst the instrumentation is gleefully fuzzy, as if played through a haze of misdirection; the vocals come through with a clarity and earnest forthrightness more befitting of a power metal band. It all sounds a bit too positive, too sincere, too clean-cut.
It sounds like a minor complaint, and in truth it is. But the result of it is that for significant parts of the album the sound just doesn't quite fit right. It is a shame because at their whirling best Sideburn are very good. Despite its name, "Rainy Days" is a sweltering beast of a track, with rippling solos and steaming riffs, "Dyi'n'Day" is a powerhouse of bluesy bluster, and these are by no means the only highlights. However, the disconnect between the band's thunderous desert noise and their earnest lyrical themes (delivered with crystalline clarity) too often jars the listener away from a fully absorbing experience.
1. Doomherren (intro)
2. Wings of sorrow
3. Song for hope
5. Dyi´n day
7. The demon dance
8. Rainy days
9. Hold me in your light