San Francisco psych rock renegades Sleepy Sun had a massive overhaul when long-standing vocalist Rachel Fannan departed in late 2010. This did little to slow the band down, with Bret Constantino stepping up as full-time lead vocalist for ensuing tours and the recording of 2012's riveting Spine Hits. Fourth album Maui Tears continues riding the strengths of Spine Hits, and sees the band becoming an even more tightly wound studio entity, with precision production and incredibly locked-in performances that dip into a gradient of various psychedelic styles. Heavy, swirling tunes like "11:32" accentuate the band's roots in the kind of blazing garage-psych that made them great tourmates for the like-minded Black Angels. The churning basslines and distant, woozy vocals of this side of the band's style come off like Perry Farrell fronting Spacemen 3 trying to figure out a Black Sabbath cover. Things quickly spin from heaviness and crunch into the gentle drifty space rock of songs like "Outside" and "Thielbar," or the even softer touch of "Slowdown" with its fragile vocal harmonies and gorgeous dream-psych arrangement. The album ends with the ten-plus-minute groove-heavy space jam of the title track, having taken the listener to different places on almost all of its nine compositions. Though truly hypnotic and rich with fuzzy textures, Maui Tears keeps its spacy tendencies from fading into incoherent jamming with both intriguing songwriting and pinpoint production choices.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas