Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Mugstar – Sun, Broken


Makes my job as an on-line reviewer so much easier when something drops into my inbox promoting a new release that’s actually a reissue of an album I know and love already, and this is one such instance since Sun. Broken I’ve owned on CD since the band kindly sent over a copy after my review of their Lime album three years ago, so although I never got around to posting a review of that one, I know the Important Records edition well. But it’s great to have a reason for mentioning it here, and that’s because there’s a 500-pressing vinyl LP version due from Cardinal Fuzz later this month (release date 24th March).

I mean, it’s a bloody corker of a space-rock record, totally intense, absolutely relentless, sounding fucking HUGE and living its life LARGE. The label seem properly chuffed to be giving it a vinyl release… and quite right too. So they’ve not just reissued it, but they’ve given it a packaging makeover with Sam Weihl’s new embossed design for its sleeve and what they describe as “stunning intergalactic black/white swirl” in its pressing.

Sun, Broken is all about power, epitomised by hard driving tracks with pounding drums, urgent keyboards and wailing technology, such as the opening ‘Technical Knowledge As A Weapon’ and the intensive and arresting ‘Labrador Hatchet’; it’s as though nothing is laid-down and committed unless it absolutely is going to plough through jacked-up to the max speakers as if it’s scientifically and chemically augmented to break the sound barrier itself, raging and racing, filling every crack and expanding, exploding, into every void: dominating your headspace and your environment. It’s that strong. Predominately instrumental, impenetrable chanting surfaces at moments, imploring us further onward. I look back at my review of Lime, and I was saying then that I “couldn’t enthuse enough” about that one… well, that’s Sun, Broken with knobs on, all turned up to screaming point, a record with everything a space-rocker might want and then some sonically challenging more.

Least we come away thinking its all heads down heaviness, Mugstar have more than just that modus operandi in their armoury. The 13.45 minute ‘Furklasunbo’ that sees out the album ranges across soundscapes, always moving onwards but having a robust and muscular subtleness to its opening movement – if that’s not a complete contradiction in terms – while always maintaining purpose, building up and working towards its interstellar travelogue despite its sprawling nature. It’s massive composition that sweeps and swirls in perfect symmetry. But then, it’s all totally stellar. Every space cadet should own a copy.

Cardinal Fuzz Website

Mugstar Website

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