Words Katherine McKenzie.
Sun God Replica are back with their third release Grandular Fever. Considering ‘grandular’ is not actually a word, I was a little perplexed as to the meaning and concept of this album title. Perhaps it’s a play on the virus Glandular Fever? Is it about a fever or virus of grand proportions? The album cover is also not giving away any clues to the title meaning. The image on the cover is a throwback to 1970s psychedelic aesthetics and fashion, dialled up to 11 out of ten, giving the impression Sun God Replica may have raided the costume department of their local theatre company. This however is a pretty good indication of the sounds that are featured on Grandular Fever; fuzzy psychedelic rock and fun vibes that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Opening track ‘Blow Your Mind’ kicks off the album with a ’70s psychedelic inspired number with catchy pop melodies. Upbeat, relaxed and fun is the general vibe with this song, with simple vocals, standard rock drum beats and a guitar solo, this accurately sets up the retro sounding direction of the rest of the album. The lyrics tick the box for abstract, psychedelia references, as shown by the song’s opening lyrics; “I’m a trap door spiderman, I’m holding flowers…” before launching into a chorus with the repeating lyrics of; “Want to blow your mind.” There are also references to going back in time and drugs for good measure.
Second track ‘Judgement Day’ continues in the same musical direction, with a very ’70s sounding opening guitar riff, before being accompanied by a jazzy drum beat. The track has a distinctive blues rock feel, a catchy chorus with a nice little time signature change, and another guitar solo in the bridge (upon listening to the rest of the album, it becomes apparent that Sun God Replica really like their guitar solos). The overall feel is very reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, as is the whole album really, but the prominent blues rock riffs of ‘Judgement Day’ make Sun God Replica’s influences particularly clear.
‘Celestial Building Block’ introduces a stronger prog-rock vibe than the former tracks. Starting simple, the song gradually builds in intensity, leading into a guitar solo with tribal-esque tom drum beats, before wrapping up with the same looping guitar riff that features throughout the track with added fuzzy distortion. Unlike some progressive rock songs, ‘Celestial Building Block’ is rather reined in and doesn’t outstay its welcome, coming in at just under five minutes. While the guitar riffs are quite repetitive, the gradual building in intensity, instrumental aspects and the guitar solo add enough variation to keep the listener’s interest.
The rest of the album follows in a similar fashion; a combination of ’70s rock, catchy pop melodies, fuzzy guitars, and a solo on almost every track. The vocals also have a very 1960s Beatles-like harmony, further adding to the overall retro vibe of Grandular Fever. There is also not a massive variation of sounds or structure from song to song, resulting in the album running the risk of sounding repetitive. However each track generally follows a verse-chorus-verse-chorus pop format with catchy guitar hooks, and the album is quite accessible and enjoyable as a whole, making Grandular Fever not just for 1970s prog-rock and psychedelia fans exclusively.
Sun God Replica’s Grandular Fever is OUT NOW through Spooky Records HERE.