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Off Duty / Boat Trip

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Album Review

Spacy and mysterious, Off Duty could easily be mistaken as the traditional music of some kind of newly discovered space-faring tribe hidden in the deepest regions of the Amazon. It’s this kind of pulsing, Krautrock-influenced retro-futuristic lo-fi that Sun Araw excels at. The fuzziness of the EP creates an interesting contrast in sounds, making the songs feel at once spacious and suffocating, giving them a murky, almost underwater feeling. The whole thing comes together best on “Deep Temple,” an 11-minute tropical expedition where searing guitars seamlessly flow along with the laid-back tropical thump of the percussive bassline. As a bonus, the album also includes the 2008 EP Boat Trip. While the two are similar enough in execution, Boat Trip doesn’t have nearly the warmth of Off Duty, instead feeling more detached and alien. When listened to all the way through, it makes for an interesting contrast, showing how two sets of songs can share a lot of the same elements but, with just a few tweaks, can have almost completely different tones. What makes the album feel so special is the sense of discovery it brings with it. Sun Araw’s aesthetic is so deeply rooted in the past that every album feels like you’re discovering some obscure gem, long forgotten about by popular culture, allowing the listener to experience the thrill of finding some lost avant rock album that was hidden in the stacks of a dusty old record store, even if only for a moment.


Born: Long Beach, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The working title of a project helmed by former Austinite and Magic Lantern member Cameron Stallones, Sun Araw has drawn compelling comparisons to such varied sources as Afro-beat, Neil Young, and Spacemen 3. As part of the communal label Not Not Fun, Sun Araw has released a number of well-received and continually groundbreaking full-lengths and singles, the first two of which -- 2008's The Phynx and Beach Head -- were psychedelic interpretations of myriad source materials, and led to the breakthrough...
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Off Duty / Boat Trip, Sun Araw
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