Squirrel Bait

Sun God

Song Review by

"Sun God" is one of the standout tracks from Squirrel Bait's self-titled debut. It's a powerfully dynamic song that would influence many alternative bands and prove to be a precursor of the metal, pop, and punk fusion that would later be known as grunge. "Sun God" showcases the band's dynamic muscle, opening with rather gently picked guitar and building drums into a somewhat sparse verse, where singer Peter Searcy delivers his vocal with an emphatic rasp reminiscent of Paul Westerberg of the Replacements. Drummer Ben Daughtrey displays considerable chops, combining dexterity and speed with an indulgent flair, tossing in mini-fills, and creating a more polished metal vibe to the recording. The tempo is swift, with tension building throughout the verse. The lyrics are minimal, simply describing the sun's spirit-lifting effect: "I feel the power of the sun on my back/So good that he is God/My life, as my mind's ticking away." The chorus releases a torrent of distorted guitars, drums pounding straight-ahead, as Search lets loose a passionate sandpaper yowl, drawing out the repeated line, "Ticking' away/Ticking' away/Tick-tick-ticking' away," sounding eerily like Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. The middle section features an instrumental workout, walls of guitar pausing occasionally for Daughtrey to showcase his skills behind the drum kit, letting fly with several speedy fills before returning to the quiet intro heard at the beginning of the song. In hindsight, "Sun God" is striking in its obvious foreshadowing of what was to become a major change in music. An influential hybrid of pop, hardcore punk, and metal that would ultimately only be heard by a few independent rock fans, perhaps due to Squirrel Bait's brief, two-album career and minor-label distribution, but would go on to spawn a huge mainstream and commercial trend some five years later.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Squirrel Bait 1985 Drag City 2:47
Wailing Ultimate! The Homestead Records Compilation 1987
Various Artists
Homestead
Squirrel Bait/Skag Heaven 1993 Homestead 2:48
Gimme Indie Rock, Vol. 1 2000
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:46
blue highlight denotes editor's pick