Black Light, White Lines

Sun Gods in Exile

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Black Light, White Lines Review

by Eduardo Rivadavia

The fact that Black Light, White Lines, the debut album from Portland, ME's Sun Gods in Exile, emerged barely one year after the band's inception says something, not only about the group's immediate and strong impression upon Small Stone, the record label that signed it, but also about the importance of feeling over calculation, as exemplified by the group's spontaneous classic rock songwriting. Opener "Eye for an Eye," for example, sounds like Cheap Trick's "Hot Love" shot through with raging distortion, and it's not even as interesting as subsequent offerings like "Heaven Help Us All" and "The Gripper," which feature slower seductive grooves and fuzz-drenched lysergic guitar solos. Inconsistency occasionally trips up the album's progress along the way, however, as rather mundane, thrown-together numbers like "Rise Up," "Mexico," and the unusually foreboding title track battle for space with more inspired fare like the Southern rockers "Hellwell" and "495" (not bad for a band from Maine!), plus the organ-enhanced "Black Magic." To be fair, the casual jam feel of those weaker cuts also has a certain appeal, and as evidenced by another album standout, the AC/DC-inspired hard rock scorcher "Turbo Fire" (very reminiscent of "Riff Raff"), Sun Gods in Exile are perfectly capable of composing a tightly wound, fully focused -- and explosive -- single, if they so wish. Which they may think about doing more of next time around, but not if it's at the expense of that spontaneous charm -- that's the sort of quality that epitomizes great rock & roll, and which happens to be in short demand nowadays.

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