Immigrant Suns


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On their fifth outing -- their first in three years -- Detroit's Immigrant Suns come back to the table with a refined and restless approach to their old-globe style articulations in the context of new music arrangement and improvisation. Never an ensemble to rest on their laurels, the Suns have issued what is possibly their finest moment on tape. Invigorated by a wealth of new members, the Suns wondrously take on notions of popular song as interpreted through Russian folk tunes ("The Huffer" could be a hit single in a more open-minded world), gypsy blues run through an Appalachian ringer ("Farewell"), scorched-earth Eastern dirge music bathed in country swamp rock ("The Veil"), or a pop song worthy of They Might Be Giants if they had gone for a more worldly and orchestral approach ("All Over the Street"). Supernova is a true picture of the Suns at full strength -- the tracks number anywhere from three to ten players and every combination in between. The glory of the album is in its closer, "Antipodes," an extended improvisation that nonetheless keeps the various modalities and scalar considerations of expanded and extrapolated harmony in full view. The listener is carried through wildly varying musical traditions by means of integral melodic invention, spacious formulations of articulated communication between all bandmembers, and a shimmering, fleeting sense of rhythmic interlocution that saturates every level of the musical architecture. Supernova is not only a delight, it is a sonic wonder.

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