Sun Gods in Exile

Thanks for the Silver

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As indicated by their chosen name, the members of Portland, Maine's Sun Gods in Exile carry themselves like a bunch of L.A. hard rock outcasts temporarily forced to hack out a lumberjack's existence at the country' opposite extremity -- geographically, philosophically, weather-wise, you get the picture... The quartet's sophomore album, 2012's Thanks for the Silver, certainly backs up this state of mind with countless organ-kissed guitar bombers, so bronzed from cruising convertibles down Pacific Coast Highways of the mind's eye, that they need especially dark shades to ward off the glare of their own daydreams. "Hammer Down," "Climb Down," "Nobody Knows," and many more such tracks could easily claim kinship with the late-'80's L.A. cock rock scene's make-up-rejecting minority -- you know, dark side of the strip bands like Junkyard, the Four Horsemen, even Burning Tree; bands whose major influences were actually AC/DC or the Faces (the oddly named "I Buried My Bitch's Car" literally rewrites "(I Know) I'm Losing You"), not Aerosmith and Van Halen (not that there's anything wrong with that!). For good measure, in case the New England winter should prove particularly bleak in the real world, a generous serving of Southern rock trimmings also flavor the easy strut of "Since I've Been Home" and the stripped-down, Black Crowes-inspired earthiness of the title track. The latter is a stark reminder that, in spite of most all appearances, we're still a long way from the Rainbow Bar & Grill. Nevertheless, one gets the feeling that Sun Gods in Exile are actually quite thankful, deep down, that so many intervening miles and years categorically separate their music's grittier qualities from the vapid nonsense produced by the spandex-sporting, Aquanet-spraying hordes of yesteryear.

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