WHEN THE Seattle sextet unleashed their debut album The Sun Dogs in 2013, its audacity and wide scope was as much part of its appeal as the stunning music that lay within.
A glorious fusion of stoner rock, psychedelia, prog, and hippy folk, with a hint of Iranian music thrown in, it was also gloriously over the top, hitting a nice balance of being both quality and good fun. Now comes its eponymously entitled successor, which feels like the comedown after an all too wild party. The band’s sound, though still encompassing all the instruments at their disposal - we can hear flutes as well as guitars - opts for restraint, with most tracks kept to around four minutes - no six to nine minute epics like the debut.
The overall feel is more austere, more sombre, and musically restrained on all levels, but with that, much of the ambition and imagination of the debut has been lost. Rose Windows though is not without merit, particularly the sophisticated, elegant psychedelic ballad ‘Blind’; while the sludgy riff and terrace chant chorus of ‘Glory, Glory’ is oddly catchy, and ‘The Old Crow’s bluesy stomp is fun. ‘Come Get Us Again’ is a reflective folk-rock ballad asking is there anything after death? Wisely, unlike so much of the black and white debate on the matter, it challenges the listener to form their own answer.