Album Review: Sunwatchers – Illegal Moves

Hypnotic, repetitive patterns and surreal soundscapes dominate ‘Illegal Moves‘, the latest album from New York psychedelic, free-jazz band Sunwatchers. It combines an exciting, fresh mix of ideas that on paper would sound completely wrong but that’s what makes the album so exhilarating. From the euphoric ‘New Dad Blues‘ to the frenzied ‘Everybody Play‘, it’s a cathartic culmination of exactly what Sunwatchers do best.

Springy, swampy basslines anchor the breezier instrumentation throughout ‘Beautiful Crystals‘. It’s one of the most accessible tracks on the album alongside sax motif-filled ‘Ptah, The El Daoud‘, an intense cover of the track originally by American jazz composer Alice Coltrane. A darker turn is taken on ‘Greeneyed Pigmen (Get The Blade)’ marches through alongside squelchy guitars and a sunburst of intricacies here and there. It’s also more conventional for the most-part but it ends up in a crazed crescendo.

‘Illegal Moves’ has its calmer moments even if they are short lived. ‘Psychic Driving‘ slows the pace right down with haunting string sounds and warbled atmospherics to start with. This doesn’t last long before the harsh, agitated guitars are back with a vengeance turning into a conversation-like interactions between various melodies and instruments.

This latest offering from Sunwatchers is an exuberant, psychedelic outpouring of experimentation and a wrath of organised chaos in the best way possible.

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