Friday 23 February 2024


Its been six years since Boston's Sundrifter, Craig Peura (vocals/guitar); Paul Gaughran (bass) and Patrick Queenan (drums), released their excellent second full length album, "Visitations", a stunning opus that secured a very respectable #17 in Desert Psychlist's "Best of 2018" end of year list. What the band have been up to in those six years is a question best asked of the band themselves we are just glad that they have returned and that they have marked that return with "An Earlier Time" (Small Stone Records) an album that in our humble opinion is a game changer.

The track "Limitless" kicks things off and straight away it feels like these guys have never been away those clean clear powerful vocals are still in place as are those spacious feeling desert rock grooves that made their previous album such joy to listen to, but Sundrifter have not returned to the studio just make a carbon copy of "Visitations" as next track "Space Exploration" goes to prove. "Space Exploration" is a song built around an off-centred and pulsing circular refrain, the songs overall vibe is totally different from its predecessor in that it as a spaced out quality that is part Hawkwind(ish) and part Elder(ish) but graced with far better vocals. There is an eastern tint to next song "Nuclear Sacrifice" both in its guitar work and its vocal which sees Peura, when not delivering a deep plea for the powers that be to push the button, warbling in wordless Arabesque flavoured tones. "Prehistoric Liftoff" finds Sundrifter jamming a chugging, almost proto-doomic, groove interspersed with proggish textures and boasts a sublime vocal melody while following song "Begin Again" sees the band once again dipping their toes into exotic waters but this time more akin to the dancing music of Turkey's Whrling Dervishes. Fans of UK bands Muse and Radiohead will find much to enjoy about following tracks "Want You Home" and "Final Chance" with the former having that same mix of indie rock and prog-like majesty that Muse made their calling card and the latter boasting Thom York like vocal melodies and those slightly off- kilter alt-metal refrains and rhythms that set Radiohead so far ahead of the chasing pack. Sundrifter sign off their new album with "Last Transmission" a moody and quite beautiful piece delivered in a minimalistic style with sparse guitar textures and droning effects framing a simple but highly effective vocal, the song a lyrical wave goodbye with the promise of an eventual return, something we will all be looking forward to after listening to this wonderfully diverse and essential album.

Sundrifter's "An Earlier Time", is one of those albums with the potential to live on much longer than the band that made it actually exists, a game changing album much like Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" was back in its day, Radiohead's "OK Computer" is today and how Elder's "Lore" will no doubt be perceived in the future, a bold statement you might say but this album really is that GOOD!
Check it out .... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

1 comment:

  1. Like it! Reminds me of the brilliance of Khan. Appreciate the review.