On the one hand it must have seemed like a perversely appropriate gesture on the part of Chris Goss. Having received a variety of comparisons to Cream after Masters of Reality's first album came out, thanks in large part to Goss' vocal resemblance to Jack Bruce, none other than legendary British drummer and Cream veteran Ginger Baker took over the sticks on the group's sophomore effort. Far from being mere wish-fulfillment, though, Baker's abilities help supercharge the mighty and underrated Sunrise on the Sufferbus to a higher level. Baker's lost none of his power -- indeed, arguably he hasn't sounded this good in years, showing flash and flair while never replicating, say, the drum-solo mistakes of "Toad" -- while both Goss and Googe have their instruments like men possessed. The result is fiery, smoking rock in a classic vein, rescuing the genre from the dullard efforts that groups like the Black Crowes were plaguing listeners with; even by-the-numbers blues-rock struts like "V.H.V." have a sharp, immediate kick to them. Goss' singing still has hints of Bruce, as well as Neil Young, but doesn't just replicate -- consider the smooth flow of "J.B. Witchdance," where he has a great crisp talk/sing style at play -- while the band's production as a whole brings out the immediacy of the songs. The emphasis on calmer efforts like the dreamy string-and-keyboard drenched "100 Years" and the enjoyable, steady lope of "Rolling Green" provide a fine contrast to the amped-up kickers. There's a great ringer in the middle of the album courtesy of Baker, "T.U.S.A." With spoken-word lyrics from Baker himself decrying the inability of Americans to make tea properly ("Pour boiling water over the tea/How simple and clear/Can the instructions be?"), it's the type of relaxed joke more self-conscious bands wouldn't dare try, but which the trio effortlessly turns into a great little song.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett