Tuesday 24 November 2020

The Sunrise - Brand New Disorder (2020)

Country: Italy
Style: Melodic Rock
Rating: 8/10
Release Date: 4 Sep 2020
Sites: Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

I like how the Sunrise want us to figure out what they do. At first listen, Brand New Disorder hints at prog rock, but 432Hz is just an intro and, even if we think we're about to launch into The Dark Side of the Moon, we move instead into Storm, a melodic rock number with guitars that are initially heavier and then more abrasive than we expect for melodic rock. I guess that puts us in alternative territory but, by the time we start to figure out the band's sound, Storm is over. This isn't a long album, at just a blink over half an hour, but that's a pretty quick opener at a mere two and a half minutes.

Gasoline clearly tells us that the Sunrise are from somewhere in the deepsouth, with its southern rock swagger, alt rock punch and Memphis blues organ. Did they move from Tennessee to Jacksonville or the other way around? Well, if I point out that the patient guitarwork in this old school riff-driven rock comes courtesy of Elia Tommaso and the omnipresent bass is played by Giuriato Giulio, we begin to realise that the Sunrise hail from somewhere rather a long way from the deepsouth, namely Venice, Italy.

The standout song on the album is surely Run, which cements their background on the heavier side of rock music in the seventies, however melodic and alternative they often sound. It's a textbook in how to build a song, starting out soft and calm but adding in a second voice to both contrast with and add texture behind that of Chiereghin Giorgia, then ramping up from almost a capella verse to emphatic chorus. What really elevates this one is that, after a couple of rounds, it builds again with Tommaso's guitar taking over behind Giorgia's voice, soloing wildly.

And, because there's so much here, I find myself wanting to talk about every song. Wake Up is vibrant hard rock but with a soul underlay. This could have been an old Deep Purple song, had the band hired a very different lead singer, and there's a recurrent transition here that sounds eerily familiar. Ghosts is the wildest card on the album, at once the poppiest song with its "woah-woah" intro, the proggiest with a bunch of keyboard swirls from Marchesan Andrea and the punkiest with its "1-2-3-4" call and its incessant beat. Instead of Purple, this could have been a Blondie song.

And there, I think is the key. Once I got Blondie into my head, it was clear that they're everywhere on this album. Sure, it's a melodic rock album. Sure, it's a hard rock album at points too. A band like the Heartless Bastards wouldn't be an unfair comparison, with their ability of infusing melody into every song, whether it's lighter or heavier or whatever. But the overall approach feels just like a Blondie album where that band took music from a whole bunch of different places, sometimes highly surprising ones, and merged those styles into a singular vision of who they are, creating something that's consistent but also ever-changing.

I find that a lot of pop albums are deceptively shallow. They sound fine but they end and we move on. Brand New Disorder felt that way on my first listen. It sounded good but it didn't seem likely to be an album I'd play over and over, especially as Giorgia's voice doesn't leap out as anything special. But I'm fond of listening to albums I review at least twice, so I put this on again and it started to grab me. So I listened to it a third time and a fourth and I kept finding new things in it that I hadn't grasped until then. By this point I was well and truly hooked and, yes, Giorgia's voice is a good part of that. It does precisely what it needs to do, even when, like at the end of Run, the song is screaming at it to change and it stubbornly refuses, to glorious effect.

I don't know how many times I've listened to it now, but I do need to move on. I'll end by saying that, even though Run is my favourite song here, Lady Shame has seeped into my bloodstream. Whatever I've got up to over the last week or so, Lady Shame has kept on popping back into my head when I least expect it. It just won't let me be and I'm kind of happy about that.

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