Review: Sonic Flower ‘Rides Again’

This Sonic Flower material finally gets to be heard after being recorded then shelved in 2005. An intense period for this old school, instrumental (at the time) heavy rock band from Japan because they broke up straight after this. A Church Of Misery side project formed in the early 2000s paying tribute to artists such as Hendrix, Cactus, Deep Purple and their like. I shit you not this album becomes very repetitive by the time you get to track 4 or 5.

Sonic Flower 'Rides Again'

Their debut album was released in 2003 on Leafhound Records and are on record as having played live in Nagoya, Japan in 2004 and their last gig was in 2007 as support to Electric Wizard. Their recent signing to Heavy Psych Sounds must be encouraging for the band now they have (thank god!) added a singer to the line-up after they reformed in 2019. Sadly however for us, new singer Kazuhiro Asaeda’s talents aren’t on display anywhere until the new album arrives in 2021.

Maximum riffage going on here and played with great abandon and intensity, you cannot fault their passion, but there is something missing. I am pleased to read of the addition of a singer because their music is crying out for one. Current line-up is Tatsu Mikami – bass, Keisuke Fukawa – drums, Yasuto Muraki – gitar and Kazuhiro Asaeda on vocals.

Anyway, back to Rides Again. Kicking off with, Super Witch a close relative of Deep Purple’s Black Night. Old school heavy rock where you can smell the sweaty denim and patchouli oil. Black Sheep rocks hard and is reminiscent of the MC5’s best moments from High Time, their 3rd record. Maybe the budget wouldn’t allow it but a brass section on this tune would have added so much more to the mix. They need to find their own Japanese version of a Rob Tyner(MC5) or Lisa Kekaula (Bellrays) to turn it into a rock/soul hybrid to really impress. It would certainly make the distinction between ‘ordinary’ to something more powerful and unique. Blues Pills have done a great job in doing just that, so take a leaf out of their book is my advice. 

Maximum riffage going on here and played with great abandon and intensity, you cannot fault their passion…

Jungle Cruise kicks in like the NY Dolls, Stranded In The Jungle but unfortunately, I’m getting bored by now and I love the Dolls too. Captain Frost is followed by Meters cover, Stay Away which is a force to be reckoned with and instantly reignites my interest. However, my advice is go away and redo this album with your new singer because I see little point in releasing this as it is.

Unfinished is how it all sounds to me. The band are tight and play with real conviction, but to play this kind of rock music you need something else going on. Your own Iggy or something equally dynamic that makes you stand out from all the other rock and roll pretenders out there. Quicksand Planet and then Earthquake (Graham Central Station cover) finishes off what was probably great fun to play but boring and predictable to listen to.

I did search out the new material online with Kazuhiro Asaeda, but it seems they are keeping it under wraps till 2021s new release. If you want to compete with your Nebula’s and the like, let’s hope your choice of new singer does it for you guys. You have a lot to offer and I really hope you get there.

Label: Heavy Psych Sounds
Band Links: N/A

Scribed by: Tim Keppie