“I’m the only thing you don’t comprehend, don’t comprehend, don’t comprehend,” Christian Stewart asserts in a high-toned groan, the urgent yearning hook of “Aries” kicking off Sun Signs’ three-years-in-the-making self-titled debut.
Recorded at Rancho Romano Studios, Sun Signs is all minor cords and dissonance, dark experimental alt rock that fluctuates between ominous, calculated simmer-and-seethe (“Gemini,” “Scorpio,” “Aquarius”), high-octane pounding-and-howling propulsion (“Taurus,” “Leo”), and that hazy gray area in between that’s both haunting, vigorous and vaguely melodic (“Libra,” “Capricorn,” “Pisces”). The album is fueled by the lyrical turns of Stewart (guitar, keys, lead vocals), the dozen tracks named for the 12 astrological signs but representing people in Stewart’s life that happen to fall under each one, and strengthened by the instrumental and vocal support of bandmates Jordan Chronister (guitar), Jeff Dominguez (bass) and Kelvin Hampton, Jr. (drums). Cohesive, dynamic, full of barely contained force and ramped up power, and marked by hefty pounding tempo-changing drums, a swaying cradle of lowend and fine guitar work in contrasting textures — soaring notes that ribbon and slice through the sonic miasma or shriek and soar or riff and ride over the churning thrust — Sun Signs is a fine first outing that leaves an impression long after the last notes have died.
Critics’ Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars