Review: Sundrifter ‘An Earlier Time’

Boston has a pretty decent history when it comes to quality (and diverse) rock and roll Aerosmith fr’instance, and on the other end of the spectrum, Dropkick Murphy’s. Both great bands, although hardly cut from the same sonic cloth.

And take Mad Oak Studios, who have been behind a tonne of great stuff for a long, long time (and in a different life, Mrs El Jefe and I almost recorded there with one of our now long-defunct outfits) so stoner rock outta one of the vast deserts of Boston ain’t exactly unheard of.

Sundrifter 'An Earlier Time' Artwork
Sundrifter ‘An Earlier Time’ Artwork

I had in my possession a copy of Sundrifter’s 2018 long player Visitations, and it’s a decent listen. fuzzed-up, spacy, and charged with some killer riffs. Good stuff, eh. So getting my greasy mitts on An Earlier Time had me salivating.

Patrick Queenan‘s primitive drum assault gets the album off to a good rockin’ start on the opening track Limitless. Vox/guitarist Craig Peura tears into the beefy chords like a croc hittin’ the first tourist of the season and I should note, despite the savage guitar, he also provides a strong melodic style with his vocals. I really dig the abrasive square-wave tones on this record. Nuclear Sacrifice has it in spades too. A repetition, mean and brooding riff has a hypnotic vibe.

Vox/guitarist Craig Peura tears into the beefy chords like a croc hittin’ the first tourist of the season…

The very Melvins-esque (minus Roger’s manic vocal stylings!) Prehistoric Liftoff saunters along with some ethereal vocals before hitting a lumbering outro that grinds slowly to a halt, whereas in comparison, Begin Again is a rapid-fire toe-tapper. The track has a squally guitar and a dense, frantic feel. A lonesome blues wail in some ‘background’ guitar lends a sweet ‘ghost member’ to the tune.

Want You Home is a dreamy and drony love ballad, which at times comes terrifyingly close to sounding like some garbage U2 may have churned out. I’m not sure on this track and I can reconcile our differences as a result. Final Chance comes as the last genuine song on this collection. I liked it, and there was something comfortingly familiar about the tune, particularly the liquid guitar intro.

A haunting guitar-based simulation of a whale song is the final entry on An Earlier Time as Last Transmission peacefully closes the record. So, in a nutshell, this is some good melodic stoner, not groundbreaking, but pretty fuckin’ good nonetheless.

Label: Small Stone Records
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Scribed by: El Jefe