Wednesday, 10 October 2018

40 Watt Sun "The Inside Room" (2011)

With exposure to just one song it only took a single listen to understand this project. Now that Ive gotten through the full record my initial reaction was practically complete. It happens every now and then, the music just makes sense of itself immediately. The five songs that are The Inside Room also stick rigidly to the formula heard at almost any moment of any given song. Its a one dimensional experience but that dimension is its own. 40 Watt Sun are an England based Doom Metal band born from two members of the disbanded Warning of the same genre. This record is their debut.

Slow and dark, brooding, corroding and groaning in pace, it has all the hallmarks of the genre but so often in music the aesthetics dialed to different degrees delineate its destination. Firstly the guitars gristle and wallow in a dirty, sludge of washing distortion guitar tone that plays drawn out power chords at a begrudging pace. The drummers symbols add to this haze as they constantly rattle and bleed into the noise, slicing in without a crash but echoing in the crevasse of the thick guitar tone. The bass provides a warm and steady footing to ground the experience with a deep softness.

Its not a particularly extreme sound. Despite being tonally gritty and sharp, its crawling pace makes an easy to follow setting as the music barely gets more ambitions than simple strings of steadily paced power chords. Where it all comes to life is with singer Patrick Walker who I will describe in the keenest of ways as being akin to Michael Stripe of REM. His voice has the same timber and holds a earnest vulnerability. His performance turns the darkness of Doom Metal into a personal, humanist struggle and strips it of all fantasy with his intimate, introspective and relational lyrics of hurt.

The music is simple, the whole record reveals itself swiftly with little in the way of surprises. It serves to put all the attention on the chemistry with their singer and has yet to wain in the several hours of enjoyment I have gotten from it. Id expect that to change at some point given the simplicity but I do wonder if that is its strength. It sets a tone and mood for the light to fall on Walker who puts on a captivating and emotional performance that makes the record glow. A worthy listen if you are curious.

Rating: 7/10

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