Saturday, March 07, 2009
THE BLACK SUN- The Black Sun CD
(Black Sun Productions 1992)
These guys were quite famous back in the early 90s, with their “Love You Now” ballad played to death on the radio in a good radio friendly way. Do you remember those three uncles who wrote plenty of nice love songs with a cool bandname The Black Sun? They were already in their mid 30s when this geriatrical labor of love was conceived and they play music that appeals to them and surely to their contemporaries who understands 70s safe rock. I am not sure if this will appeal to the Great Spy Experiment/Electrico crowd but they surely do appeal to me The Oddfellows-era nerd who can be a sane, sanitised conventional music lover every now and then. The three uncles were old time buddies from Nee Soon Camp who shared a common interest in 70s hard rock and they started jamming way back in '75. So they could have been honing their weaponry in some kampong ulus for the past 15 years.
This CD I am reviewing is a DIY effort from these loaded uncles, who forked out a huge sum of money for this, from state of the art recording studios to manufacturing their own CDs and covers. Maybe you can even smell Ben Chia's fingerlicking good stain on the sleeves. There is another similarly titled album from them, which is not the same as this debut. The band called themselves The Black Sun because these uncles are not your average boring AORockers. They have mysticism and dark powers, like Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath and you might hear something funny if you backmask “Love You Now” or something. Musically I can hear influence from Yes, Led Zeppelin, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, yet somehow there is just something exceptional about this group. They really have a forte for extremely memorable songcrafting and these uncles handle their weaponry like a true “blues” samurai.
From the album opening track “Flame In The Night”, you can feel the promising power in their delivery, like a more epic Europe, but no less pompous. But the standouts are the love songs here. Love songs, how often I cringe with every mention, and yet the Black Sun did not even shy away from it, they seemingly embrace every moment of it pouring out their hearts to romanticism. “Love You Now” is undoubtedly the strongest number from this album, a very commercial sounding ballad with very potent melody hook, somewhere in the veins of Restless Heart “Tell Me What You Dream” but so refreshingly catchy, splendid! The track “Black Sun” is a dark, menacing track that best exemplifies the subtle dark, shadowy undertone of the band. With the gruff voice of Def Leppard, the textural impressionistic atmosphere of Alan Parsons Project and the doomsday lyrics of Black Sabbath, this track is the black horse of this record, and a solemn strong contender to the melancholia of “Love You Now”. “Singapore Beat” is upbeat, cheery and a satirical tongue-in-cheek social commentary. This almost reminds me of The Crowd/Watchmen to some degree with their “Orchard Road”, like I'm looking at two parallel dimensions! On “Passage (Song For The Atheist)”, The Black Sun does wistful hallowed British folk music in the veins of Pentangle! Those depressing minor chords are my secret passion and indeed I've been a closet folk junkie since young so yeah I buy this one. The last few tracks are quite experimental from “Visitation” to “Departure”, it's like a journey tripping the blended soundscapes of Tangerine Dream flangering to more structured Alan Parsons Project territory.
This is what happen when three uncles got creative. They could be heartlanders like you and me sipping kopi-o at the coffee shop. They had a vision, they got together, made their own music oblivious to jangling teenage heads out there and they had successfully released a critically acclaimed album with a radiohit to top. Now we don't hear from them but I'm sure there must be a tick somewhere in their bucketlist. For the less fortunate uncles and aunties out there with an inclination for music, they would just hum and whistle along with resignation on their way to work.
--sojourner at 4:06 AM