New York quartet Sunwatchers drew a line in the sand with their last album “II”, a powerful statement of the band’s unique brand of spirituality, free-rock, gonzo attitude and a progressive socio-political worldview. “Illegal Moves” is their latest dispatch and second album for Trouble In Mind.
“Illegal Moves” is the band’s most potent blend yet; a heady potion of free-jazz, psychedelia, punk & noise rock that is both tender and ferocious; the perfect soundtrack to smash capitalism and fix our broken system thru sonic catharsis and revolution.
Songs like “Everybody Play” and standout track “Beautiful Crystals” insinuate themselves into your brain space with the rubbery synchronicity of bassist Peter Kerlin and drummer Jason Robira, slyly busking for your attention with an appealing melody before rounding onto a sour note, as if to remind the listener that both ugliness and beauty are necessary to the communal human experience.
Elsewhere “New Dad Blues” and “Greeneyed Pigmen (Get The Blade)” (despite their cheeky titles) sting with a righteous fury beyond the piercing scree of guitarist Jim McHugh’s electric phin or Jeff Tobias’ saxophone skronks, and the band’s cover of Alice Coltrane’s “Ptah, the El Daoud” transforms her meditative elegy to the Egyptian deity into a fiery protest march.
The songs on “Illegal Moves” crackle with an energy informed by passionate disgust of the status quo, realised on the album cover by Scott Lenhardt’s Mort Drucker-esque illustration of the Kool-Aid Man battling the personifications of evil from across the world. A psychedelicized avatar for the general wrath and action that they believe in. McHugh says: “He’s a corporate advertising mascot going rogue and getting wise and turning his knowledge and strength against the Arbiters of Oppression… turning the Psycho-emotional propagation of exploitation and consumption against itself.”