Shortly after I started my Twitter account (@kenoalbumreview), I received a follow confirmation from the band The Sunpilots. I was intrigued, as it was the first time a band asked to follow ME, instead of vice versa. After some basic research of the band, I was immediately interested: An Australian rock band with progressive rock influences, with a concept album, and an awesome album cover to boot. Quadruple check off my list of criteria to give this rock band a shot. Since I had the time over the weekend, I cleared my schedule, sat down, and gave a listen to “King of the Sugarcoated Tongues.”
I was struggling to think of a way to describe this band all morning during my commute to work. Because of the variety of sound that The Sunpilots deliver on this album, it took a few hours before I finally pinpointed the musical influences. Whether unintentional or not, my first impression of this band is a musical fusion of The Mars Volta and Incubus, but not necessarily a musical duplicate. I could easily hear Brandon Boyd’s vocals if I closed my eyes, and could easily guess the song structures to be Mars Volta or At The Drive-In B-sides. The previous sentence is in no way meant to be an insult or taken in a negative connotation.
The songs in “King of the Sugarcoated Tongues” are much too complex and unique to simply be copying one or two different bands’ sound, but simple enough to be pleasant and catchy. Each song is a prerequisite to the next, as the song structure is uniquely driven by the electric and bass guitars, played by Bob Spencer and Adil Baktir respectively. The first song I listened to was “The Piper’s Mirror,” which is also released as a music video. The video reminds me of a dystopian future, but can be interpreted to the viewer’s liking. Songs like “King of the Sugarcoated Tongues” and “God Science” reminds me of old-school Incubus with its simple yet effective guitar riffs, doused in phaser and other sound effects. Other songs like “The Captain” and “Rain” make me recall the guitar styles of individuals like Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of the Mars Volta and Nick Perri of Shinedown. The groovy bass guitar is prominent in every song. I cannot help but follow the bass guitar in songs like “King of the Sugarcoated Tongues” and “Exodus”. The drumbeat is the perfect complement to the effect-driven guitars and bass guitars, played by Kay Ketting.
What I love the most about this album is the vocals. Raj Siva-Rajah’s range is incredible; his vocals alone are a reason to listen to this album. His voice sounds like a mix between many well known rock singers, from Brandon Boyd to Matthew Bellamy to Jeff Buckley. Vocals are highlighted in songs like “3 Minutes to Midnight” and “The Captain.” His range in vocals, along with the varying styles of guitar make this album stand out among others.
For fans of progressive rock, and bands like Incubus, Radiohead and The Mars Volta, I suggest you give this band a listen. This album is fun to listen to, as you can follow a different instrument each time and come out in the end with a different experience. Please visit this band here, where you can download a free copy of this album. That’s right: free! What’s better than free music?! In addition, they are touring the United States shortly, so please support this band in these multiple ways.
Please enjoy a complimentary listen of “King of the Sugarcoated Tongues” from Bandcamp below!