Genres are ever expanding. No one wants to be constrained to a pigeon hole so they create new ones for others to then be forced into. Berlin’s “Suns of Thyme” are described as Krautgaze which I-with Holmes like deduction take it to be one part Kraut rock and one part Shoegaze. How delightfully modern. I want to hate it already!
Well tough shit Matt you trend hating bastard cos you are gonna love it!
“Suns of Thyme” blend together decades of influence with a heavy dose of the seventies to create “Cascades” delightfully dreamy 14 tracks. When I say the Seventies we are not talking the Sweet or Abba. This is Velvet Underground meets Bauhaus via Pink Floyd and Hawkwind with dashes of early Smiths and Ride for good measure. If you enjoyed Publicist UK or Beastmilk I reckon you should give these Berliners a go. They add a little more riffage in as well which is always good for the rock diet.
Now my oldest friend and co presenter Mupps Muppington states that this is eclectic in the best possible way. Cascades wears its influences proudly without becoming a pastiche, this is not the emperor’s new clothes . No “upcyling “ of old doomy riffs here Suns of Thyme sound fresh and exciting with an air of familiarity and the gorgeous noise they transmit will appeal to indie kids , psyche heads, goths and metallers alike.
Opener “Do or Die” combines a warm low rumbling bass with the kind of rhythm guitar that the Edge used to play before Bono disappeared up his own ego. Add to that a Pete Murphy style vocal line and Billy Duffy Love era guitar licks and this is a very interesting prospect. The drums are loose yet tight as fuck in equal measure and hold everything together in a tie dye gossamer sac. “Intuition Unbound” is like something off the first Smiths album played through a filter of psychedelia and dark rock. A filthy stoner riff ramps up the testosterone and stops things getting too artsy whilst a liberal use of keys adds an ethereal touch. This album has a BIG sound. The drums on “Ich Traeum Von Dir” are huge with rolling tom toms adding to a mystical vibe that has Tobias Feltes belting out lyrics with a velvet passion. The instrumental interlude that follows is more or less the soul responsibility of the synths of Tammo Dehn transporting the listener back to the Germany of the late Seventies when Kraftwerk introduced their stark enthralling vision to the world. With an exuberant flourish the organic warmth of the band returns with “Rush” with a Johnny Marr like swirl shot through its psychedelic melancholy. “Schweben” is synth laden psychedelia with a hint of second summer of love a la Sonic Flower Groove Primal Scream in there whilst “Deep Purple Rain” channels Morrissey rather than Blackmore .
You know those songs that grab you by the nipples and swing you round? The ones that both exhilarate and tantalise at the same time? Well Aphelion is such a song. A track that the repeat button was made for. Opening with such dark promise exuding the delicious depression of Faith era Cure before erupting into a rock refrain that drags the spirit upwards and into the stratosphere. Music to fly by! Anything after would be a let down. Luckily they follow up with “In Dreams Awake” with its Cult/Mission take on Psyche pomp and rather than hitting the ground with a bump I am twisted around in a sea of fluttering scarves, incense and strong cider. This is a track to dance with your arms to. (Not enough arm dancing takes place in my opinion) . “Kirwani “ a two parter brings Cascades to a close in a gentle comedown with “Kirwani II” acting as a fluffy pillow for this psychonaut to land safely in.
This is one of those near perfect albums that balances out of body psychedelia , heads down rock and roll and gothic atmospheres with a scrumptious sense of melody and great songwriting. I can’t give it 10/10 as they may release something even better in the future.
(9/10 Matt Mason)