By Eileen Tilson
Rumor has it that if you walk into certain bars in Amsterdam, you can walk up to the bartender who will then promptly ask you how you would like to “feel,” which you can then order from a long list of drugs to give you your desired effect. From hot to hazy, Sleepy Sun’s latest export Fever, could be referred to as the Cornucopia of Amsterdam’s goodies. With the capability to mix dark psychedelic rock with spaced out vocals, and smoky mountain voodoo, Fever will leave you wondering whether you accidentally ate the “special” mushrooms on your pizza.
From the looks of the sextet, it is no surprise that the band hails from sunny California, with their long hair and stage face paint letting the outside world know that they are definitely fans of the alternative lifestyle, and as easy as it would be to imagine Sleepy Sun passing around the bong in a drum circle while writing their songs, this is their first release on ATP recordings, and it is quite obvious that this band fills their tunes with Black: Sabbath, Mountain, Dog, Crowes, etc.
The album opens with “Marina,” a fuzzy guitar, trippy ballad that almost sounds like it is going to turn into Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” before intertwining the light/dark boy/girl voices of Rachel Fannan and Bret Constantino, then adds a little lip love with the harmonica, before closing with some tribal beats and chants.
“Rigamaroo” is a sweet backwoods folksy featuring lyrics about nature and black magic, bringing in that recognizable acoustic guitar, the trickery that makes Sleepy Sun appear to be a loud molten guitar band, while remaining quiet. “Sandstorm Woman” thrashes on for almost 10 minutes with a wailing Fannan that would make Grace Slick proud.
With more than one song jumping past the six minute mark, Fever can leave even the most stoned, red eyes drooping. So what is good about the LP? Even on the strongest hallucinogenic, it would be hard to dump the fact that this band knows how to make progressive psychedelic rock that doesn’t make you want to run to rehab. However, with ditties like “ Acid Love,” “Desert God,” and “Sandstorm Woman,” Sleepy Sun is definitely still praying to the mystical earth mother, making it a lot less approachable than their Woodstock predecessors. The album is earthy, dirty, and distorted, leaving a mess inside your head.
Sleepy Sun play The EARL on September 12.