100% Sunshine

Slow Down Molasses

Noyes Records, 2016

http://slowdownmolasses.com

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/21/2016

100% Sunshine is 100% fun! Well, at least compared to its predecessor, Burnt Black Cars. Slow Down Molasses seems to have found a comfortable home in the grungy and ethereal guitar rock sound that they first explored on that disc, as they have continued to pursue the same musical direction on 100% Sunshine. However, while vocalist/guitarist Tyson McShane (the principal member of the band) and his bandmates appeared reserved and shy on Burnt Black Cars, they have certainly opened up a lot on this record in comparison; the songs here are livelier and are generally much more fun and flashy.nbtc__dv_250

McShane and his fellow musicians unleash their inner “Rock N Roller” raucousness on this album with music that is unapologetically loud. The aptly titled “New Release” is a soaring track that could be considered Slow Down Molasses’ version of a stadium-rock anthem, complete with a musical segue that consists of small blasts of guitar noise that act as a perfect buildup for the audience to clap along (at a stadium concert, for instance), leading to the song’s final chorus. For an unassuming and humble outfit from the Canadian prairies, this is like living a Guns N’ Roses moment! On “Levitation Sickness,” “Moon Queen,” and “Ghosts & Vodka,” the band rocks harder than they could have ever imagined even a year ago when they were releasing Burnt Black Cars.

The slower numbers on this disc – like “No Riots,” “Flowers,” and “You Made Me A Ghost” – have the same haunting and ethereal goodness that made their previous release so likeable. But here, the band rocks harder than they ever did previously, and they do not let go of the hard-hitting sound of even during the album’s mellower moments.

Slow Down Molasses has taken a giant leap forward in terms of mixing and production on this record, as they sound much more “grown up.” However, there are also some not-so-flattering aspects of the album’s predecessor lingering here, mainly the poor vocal mix. McShane sounds like he is singing into a tin can, which in turn sounds strange, crude, and totally at odds with the music, which certainly has more polish.

Still, 100% Sunshine is a distinct step forward on the part of Slow Down Molasses in terms of maturity. Even though this progress is only relative to the band’s earlier work, it is anything but trivial.

Rating: B

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