Sunderfeet – ‘Nightmare For Myself’.
Now, that might not be the best album cover artwork you’ve seen this week but it being from a band that describe themselves as a ‘Stoner-Grunge-Power-Trio’, you suddenly let it off the hook and even condone it. It’s always better not to be boring after all.
Nightmare For Myself is the debut album from the Strasbourg three-piece and from the opening notes of ‘Dying Day’ and its strong penchant for the faster, up-tempo aspects of Grunge, you know you’re certainly not in it for the short run.
After the charge of ‘Dying Day’ the band opt for a completely different path. The pace subsides and the cumbersome and simplistic Stoner Rock riffs and “through gritted teeth” vocals come to play. From the sombre guitars and in verse rhythms, the band juxtapose their need for gratuitous weighted stylistics with calm, relaxed instances only to contrast and perhaps contain their Stoner Rock groove.
‘No Man’s Land’ is exactly what you want from a Stoner Rock song as it begrudgingly plods along. Its successor, ‘Mushoom Fall’, however pulls in a Blues-Rock tone and further groove, finished off with playful Rock n’ Roll swagger. Sunderfeet are not trying to break the blueprint here but are on some sort of relentless search in want of all the groove of modern Rock music.
This is an album that you can just leave playing, while you relax, get stoned, have a drink, play a game, read – whatever, its suits most situations. From its playful grooves to its sudden bursts of speed and intricate guitar work, it is what it is, with the latter parts of ‘Mushroom Fall’ sitting as an unambiguous album highlight.
Pearl Jam are a clear influence and the melancholic ‘Upset Man’ is loving testament to this. It is mid album that as a listener you begin to feel your comfortability with the band and that of the band’s own as the Sunderfeet sound settles in.
‘Death Prowler’ is a good middling track and ’13’ isn’t far behind. Even in the unavoidable positions of the “filler” tracks Sunderfeet are still strong and engaging, with the album as a whole keeping a strong flow of continuity.
Sunderfeet take their time and in true Stoner fashion are in no rush, these are loud sizeable riffs designed for those happy to wait, for those who feed on the constant anticipation of the arrival and then swift departure of the well constructed head-banging inducing riff. Sunderfeet are tight in all aspects of their composition from their skill as a band and onward to production, a vital part of albums in this vein.
But it isn’t all slow inevitability, Sunderfeet sometimes can’t help but break from their stupor and have a little fun and is exactly the case with ‘Common Aim’. Faster, playful riff-work and bouncing classic Stoner Rock rhythms set apart the band from just another sofa confined Rock-unit.
With the eponymous penultimate track casually but intently and emotionally walking down an acoustic road, the following final blast entitled ‘W.A.R’ is the longest on the release instantly a favourite with its melodic and driven guitar-lines and crunching Punk-Rock charge. This is Sunderfeet doing their utmost to tie-in an album that follows a certain line but with a few crucial and minute detours.
Nightmare For Myself is a long drawn out album, it’s an album you need to commit too and should always be taken full on and in its entirety but it would be no small lie to say it wasn’t enjoyable.
You best get flexing those neck muscles.