Samson cut his hair and got weaker. Red Sun Rising cut their hair with a similar result.
Red Sun Rising is back with their sophomore album Thread (Out March 30th). Hoping to build on the success of their debut release Polyester Zeal, Thread in many ways is a more consistent record. Initially I found “Deathwish” an odd selection for a lead single. Being almost epic in nature it sort of dares you to pay attention. It was definitely a grower for me. It turns out that “Deathwish” was the perfect lead track from a fairly dense record.
Fans of the early tracks on Polyester Zeal may find Thread a bit of a letdown. But for those who were attracted to PZ’s deeper cuts, Thread is a very natural progression. Songs full of color and shape. Meaningful lyrics. Less hook, as the melodies are utilized to convey a mood. You won’t find fist pumping anthems like “Otherside” or “Amnesia”. What you will find is a deliberately crafted album by one of rock music’s brightest lights.
The opening track “Fascination” has elements of progressive rock. Singer Mike Protich flexes his vocal chords here on a decent opener that you only hope will be improved upon. The next song “Left For Dead” is a little better but at this point I am close to checking out. Back to the single “Deathwish”. A grower and great track I can’t wait to see them play this live this summer. This song is good. Almost too good. It would be better as the third song on a record preceded by better songs. RSR’s talent is highlighted here. If you don’t like this song, then you may not like music enough to be reading this.
“Stealing Life” reminds me of “Winters Call” by Badlands. Sung by a better singer of course. Four songs in, we found the second best track so far. The next track “El Lazo” harkens back to the second half of Polyester Zeal. Not bad. Not great. “Lonely Girl” may be the first attempt at a song with a broad appeal. While ok, it falls short of making me hit repeat.
“Veins”. The best track so far. And a reminder that Protich is among the better young lyricists of this generation. This song has everything a PZ fan would want. It’s rocking. Catchy. And like all of their songs. Meaningful. It’s the first track I’ve gone back to. You will too. Not so much with the next song. When I hear “Clarity” I feel like I’ve heard it before. It feels predictable. It could be worse. It could be a 90’s sounding song with a 90’s sounding song title.
“Benny Two Dogs” starts with a predictable voicemail followed by a worst of the 90’s chord progression that makes me fear I am reviewing a Hanson record. How can a song called “Benny Two Dogs” sound so anticipated and generic? “Rose” ain’t bad. It highlights Protich’s touch with melody. Until the chorus. Then you get sad. Where is the band I once knew?
The record closes with the sound of a child’s toy harpsichord on the song “Evil Like You”. This is a great album closer. At this point my only bitch would be the songs before this. What a great way to end a record.
Much like “Deathwish” was a challenging song for a single, this record will grow on you. There is no denying the talent in this band. The songs on Thread are well crafted and engrossing. It’s either refreshing in this day of short attention spans or a horrible career move to release a record that requires the listener to dedicate themselves time to absorb it. I hope it’s not the latter.