July 23, 2024

SUNWATCHERS – “Illegal Moves” – crazed psychedelia and jazz, a review

TROUBLE IN MIND 22nd Feb, 2019

An excellent modern-day psychedelic album, wrapped in a very terrible album sleeve that totally misrepresents the contents (though, apparently the band like it….)

This album is crazed psychedelia and jazz. You may as well start with the first track: Honking saxophone, madly circling guitar patterns and the drums seem to accelerate as the potential for a dancing frezy explodes. Next up you’ll find a Can influence on the drum and bass. Add in some groovy noodling and it gets impelling. The third track rocks and grooves at the same time – very dancey, very trippy. The organ sounds make this seem to be a throwback to the sixties, yet it belongs to the timeless underground. Moving on, you’ll find a gently shambolic free-form jam, slowly wandering and collapsing. Then you’ll hear something similar fail to collapse, instead exploding into frenetic jiggling beats and angular Zappa-style guitar solos. I’m surprised as the album closes on a steel guitar blues.

A live set from this band would be a dancing frenzy. Here, on an album, it is still hugely energetic and inventive – as much jazz as dance. Psychedelic in the truest sense of the word, warping the mind and massaging the feet. To quote Mr Clinton – it frees your mind and your ass will follow. Notes are as likely to be lemon sharp as traditionally melodic, as likely to follow an Eastern tone scale as Western, it refreshes and cleanses the palate. Hats are tipped with a cover of an Alice Coltrane piece and the spirit of Albert Ayler is omnipresent.


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