Often I have seen record reviews that disparage an album as not being `cohesive.’ Hell, I’ve even used it myself. But when can a record exemplify an eclectic nature, surpass the stigma of disparateness, and be considered great? One need look no further than Columbus, Ohio’s The Sun. The Midwestern quintet have released two ‘teaser’ EP’s previously and three of the songs from those are also presented here on their full length. The hype has been flying for some time and after much ballyhoo, including the fact that the debut will contain a video for every song presented on the record, the Sun finally emerges, and yes, lives up to the hype, and then some.
The Sun belts out of the gate with “Must Be You,” a Replacements / Tommy Stinson-esque / Guided by Voices like song that rises to a screaming crescendo towards the end that is full of bile and venom. “Say Goodbye” starts out with a slow R&B crawl, with Motown backup (one can picture the dancers in velvet suits behind lead singer Chris Burney) and then becomes an Iggy Pop manic assault that contains the best use of the f-bomb since Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In the Name Of.” “Justice” is one of the songs from the teaser EP’s and has a Dandy Warhols feel with a sweet falsetto chorus. “Romantic Death” is one of those songs that make you want to do slow bumps in the club while you sing along. It also houses some of the Sun’s political leanings as he croons, “I’m looking down the barrel of a gun / just for fun / fighting in a war I only know exists but for profit / I don’t ever wanna come back from this one, from this one / I’ve seen things I’ve never seen before / seen before.” “2B4” quickly became one of my new favorite songs. It’s simple and straightforward lyrics are an indictment of the war in Iraq in a Pixies meets Rocket from the Crypt’s call and response style. Singing about a `package from the war’ that he received, everything leads up to a really creepy, yet powerful ending. Burney’s message to the powers that be is simple and stated in the last verse, “I got a package from the war / Baby look inside / Don’t look inside / Baby look inside / It’s the head of your boy with a note in his mouth written in the hand of God that says / You forgot about the two before.” See what I mean?
“Lost at Home” is a bouncy dance rock song and “Waitin’ On High” is like Dan Bejar’s Bowie-tinged New Pornographers numbers. Another EP holdout, “Rockstop” is !!!-like groovy fun. “We Tried” could rival Coldplay in anthemic glory with a repeatable chorus. “Pavement Jive” is what would happen if Isaac Brock fronted New Order, and is the origin of the album’s title when Burney sings, “Boom, boom, cap, cap, they’ll blame it on the youth, they’ll blame it on the rap.” “These Heights” brings back the Pixies atmospheres, but with a touch of the Alarm thrown in for good measure. Screeching and fuzzed out guitars surround “Taking the Lord’s Name in Vein.” “Lose Your Money” is a stripped down tempered and somber track, while “Valentine” mimics its namesake (My Bloody Valentine) with a song that could have been a cover of an outtake from Loveless.
This album review marks the first time I’ve ever mentioned every track from the CD. The reason for the completeness is all due to the fact that each song on Blame It On the Youth is vastly different from the next, and all are potential singles. At various times during my days in the past week, I have had different songs from the album popping into my head, only to later be replaced by another. Blame It On the Youth might not be one of the most important albums of the year, but it’s the most fun I’ve had listening to a new CD in months.