For a new, unknown band, a name bears great importance – it will be the first impression anyone who stumbles upon your music will have, which could be the difference between standing apart and falling in with every other band of your genre, and could be your make or break for any kind of popularity. While a name like Somali Yacht Club could suggest something ominous and violent, what we are in fact assaulted by here is not a murderous crew of pirates but five songs of heavy, progressive-leaning rock music. However, the name also has a certain level of intrigue, which is reflected in the band’s sound.
The Sun is perhaps one of the year’s most promising releases from a band falling into the category encompassing such styles as stoner, psychedelic and hard rock. The band’s greatest strength is their blending of fresh and unexpected influences and sounds within that familiar, tired format. From the opening sitar ambience of Loom, to the reggae-esque middle section of Sightwaster to the epic tremolo-picked crescendo of Signals, each song on the album is distinguished which, along with its concise running-time, ensures that the album remains captivating throughout. The fact that every song is over the length of 7 minutes also benefits the band, allowing each theme to develop and mutate to its full potential.
In some ways, this could allow the band to get away with stretching few ideas over a full album’s run-time, since most of the musicianship on the album is somewhat simple, making use of familiar stoner-rock riffs and power chord progressions. However, this would only be a problem if these ideas were boring and uninspired which is absolutely not the case – even more impressive for a three-piece, the band’s song-writing remains consistently sharp, particularly bolstered by the guitarist’s use of a clean, delay-drenched sound in the album’s instrumental moments which creates an expansive vast yet airy dynamic to their music.
Instead, the band’s main drawback is that their song-writing abilities outclass their musicianship, which is not an issue at this stage as their ideas are still original. The album’s only other apparent weaknesses are its lyrics – being from Ukraine, English is not Somali Yacht Club’s first language which leads to inaccurate lyrics such as “sands are everywhere” and an overall simplicity in their language and themes. Once again, this is something that can be improved over time – for a debut, The Sun is a great achievement and creates anticipation for the band’s next endeavours as they become more experienced musicians, which will allow them to fully utilise their exciting song-writing capabilities and achieve that coveted “magnum opus” status.