The Suntanama


  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

This is one of those bands Drag City has on their roster to make indie rock purists wrinkle their foreheads and say, "Huh?" Within the Suntanama's sunny, slightly stoned sound lies traces of good ol' boy Southern rock, boogie rock, blues-rock, folk, and more than a hint of a bar band. While other Drag City groups like Royal Trux and the Silver Jews have adopted and subverted these elements, the Suntanama embrace them wholeheartedly, in an ultra-earnest way that's ultimately more subversive than using them ironically. Their second album, Another, is nearly as wild and woolly as their self-titled debut, but it's also a little more focused -- the band doesn't break out the flutes until track seven, "Nod Off the Top of My Head." At times, Another sounds like the most recent work by Neil Hagerty, which shouldn't come as a surprise, considering that Hagerty produced their first album. Rambling and intimate at the same time, songs like "Welcome My Friends" and "Roughcommon" have an appealing choogle to them that the slightly rough production and Darren Zoltowski's nasal, raspy vocals accentuate. Zoltowski's vocal excesses are an acquired taste; they're a part of the band's sound that will make indie stalwarts cringe even further, but they also add to the authenticity of the mid-'70s vintage of the Suntanama's sound, which is an acquired taste itself. The slow-burning epics "The 3 of 3's" and "Fingerlakes" find the Suntanama at the height -- or depth, depending on how you look at it -- of their obsession with gritty, bluesy '70s rock; spiraling guitar solos and Zoltowski's barely controlled vocals run amok over the undeniably solid groove set down by the band's rhythm section. The Suntanama's folkier, quieter tracks, such as "In Time," might be slightly more accessible, but to get any enjoyment out of their music, a fondness for the works of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, Molly Hatchet, and their ilk is necessary. Another tends to fall apart in its second half, but it's a mostly fun album if -- and only if -- you have an appreciation for boogie rock in the first place.

blue highlight denotes track pick