Disco-Metal Rockers, Sunspot has racked up a few awards and a lot of recognition during the past decade, including winning Rock Album of the Year, 3 times in the Madison Area Music Association Awards, and Artist of the Year from the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (other winners include Bon Iver, Garbage, and Violent Femmes.) They’ve shared the stage with Andrew WK, Death Cab for Cutie, The Flaming Lips, Sponge, SevenMaryThree, Hot Hot Heat, Crash Test Dummies and Sick Puppies.
In early 2011, Sunspot licensed their song, “Go, Pack!” to FOX Sports for their Super Bowl coverage, with some residual coverage for the song on NPR as well as radio all over Wisconsin. Their last EP, Arthuriana, was in rotation on nearly 200 college stations in the US and Canada.
The band says that their latest EP, Archaeopteryx is about “being between two places, and never feeling like fitting in,” and explain that the Ep includes 3 tracks, “The Archaeopteryx” (which was the first dinosaur discovered with feathers, having a foot (or a claw, if you will), in-between the old world and the new. “Chariots of the Gods”, inspired by the book about ancient aliens of the same name, is about wishing you were from somewhere else, not just a physical location, but from a different species! And the soft acoustic ballad “Mine Without A Holiday”.
Sunspot indulges themselves and surprise the listener with the extremes of their artier tendencies on the Ep, Archaeoptery. There are blasts of dense rock, complex riffing, and tight harmonies throughout, with generous quantities of strings on “Mine Without A Holiday”. This is one of those rare Ep’s that is excellent from start to finish.
Sunspot is one of those bands that defy categorization. They are focused and powerful without being overly “heavy.” The drumming by Wendy Lynn Staats and bass playing by Mike Huberty isn’t plodding, methodical and boring like many hard rock bands; as they put a fair amount of groove and pop flair into their craft. At least as much as Ben Jaeger injects into his grinding rhythms and fiery solos. The soaring vocals and layered harmonies do the rest.
Sunspot always keeps their music exciting. They have a natural sense of direction on where the music needs to go next, through every bar.The Ep is replete with blazing soundscapes and incredible vocals. A melodic, harmony-drenched, emotionally soaring rock explosion directed straight at your ear drums and delivered right to the doorstep of your emotional sensibilities.
Don’t let the three song track list persuade you otherwise, this is worth the money you offer while naming your price on purchasing. It will totally blow you away. The songs are slightly danceable, but not like dance music – just enough to give the rock-induced songs a groove. There are some electronic sounds, but never obnoxious and of course the soaring, beautiful vocals.
Sunspot deliver songwriting at its best, as well as the energy to make the Ep worth buying. In fact, this is actually a really great Ep, to get someone who’s never heard Sunspot, to listen to. The musicianship is top-notch and easily accessible as a whole. Not only is it energy converted into rhythm and melody, the songs actually make sense, both musically and lyrically.
All in all, Archaeopteryx is a very strong release that is held up by its powerful music. Its only flaw is its brevity, which in light of its quality seems absolutely insignificant!
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