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Black Sunshine

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Album Review

Professional skier Matt Reardon has been leading a double life. Although he is primarily an athlete, Reardon has been involved in music as well; this self-titled 2010 release is the debut album by his band Black Sunshine. Upon hearing that name, one could easily assume that Reardon's musical focus was alternative metal; "Black Sunshine," after all, was one of the gems that, in 1991, White Zombie recorded for their album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 (a definitive example of early-‘90s alternative metal). But while Reardon's band is part of alternative rock, it isn't part of alternative metal (alternative hard rock, yes, but not alternative metal). This 39-minute CD doesn't sound anything like White Zombie; instead, Black Sunshine's music is post-grunge all the way, and Reardon's angst-ridden lead vocals are clearly the work of someone who has spent a lot of time listening to Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and many of the post-grunge singers Vedder inspired. Of course, different post-grunge bands have done different things with their Pearl Jam/Foo Fighters obsessions. Some post-grunge bands are poppier than others; some are bluesier than others. And Black Sunshine are on the more bluesy side of post-grunge; there is no shortage of blues feeling on hard-rocking but introspective tracks like "Slave," "Holy Gasoline," "Cannonball," and "Tears." By 2010 standards, Black Sunshine are hardly groundbreaking; this is an album that sounds like it could have been recorded ten or 12 years earlier. But what Black Sunshine's debut lacks in originality, it makes up for in the way of hooks, craftsmanship, and feeling. The bottom line is that Black Sunshine's songs — although highly derivative — are also very easy to like if one is a die-hard post-grunge enthusiast.

Black Sunshine, Black Sunshine
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