The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Sun Voyager, Mecca

Orange County, NY, four-piece Sun Voyager bookended 2013 with demo releases. The first was Cosmic Tides, which arrived in January with three tracks and was issued on cassette, and the latest is Mecca. Also three songs and not yet given a physical pressing that I know of, Mecca finds its breadth in a laid back atmosphere of heavy psychedelia and rolling low end groove. The two guitars of Carlos Valle (also vocals) and Steve Friedman run through a varied level of effects from wah to cave echo, sometimes using a slide to evoke a swamp blues feel amid the pastoral sunshine of their tones and Valle‘s semi-shoegaze vocal approach, which follows the riffs on “Mecca,” “Space Queen” and “Suns of the Future” with burgeoning confidence and poise. Bassist Stefan Mersch is essential in keeping the songs together and moving forward, locking in smoothly with drummer Kyle Beach while the guitars move through and around the central figures of the songs. This is a pretty familiar construction for heavy psych, but Sun Voyager put it to use well, capturing a terrestrial sound that’s at once loose and swaggering and richly exploratory.

They get underway with “Mecca,” which clocks in at five minutes flat of immediately engaging, guitar-led fare. The initial groove rolls slow and subtly bluesy with space-echo lead guitar behind Valle‘s verse, which rests comfortably on the plush bassline. A tension is built leading to a swell in volume, but they’re not quite ready to give away the chorus yet. “Mecca” rises and falls in volume and energy, fluid all the while and progressively gaining volume as it pushes past the three-minute mark. It remains languid as Valle drops the title line, “The Mecca has arrived,” a couple┬átimes before feedback ends the song and cuts to Mersch‘s bass starting “Space Queen.” Both “Mecca” and closer “Suns of the Future” are around the five-minute mark, but “Space Queen” approaches eight and its feel is suitably jammed-out. Doubly hypnotic thanks to repetitive lyrics, “Space Queen” is arguably the easiest cut on Mecca to get lost, with a solo topping the jam that leads not to a massive crescendo — there is one, it’s just not overblown — but instead to a quieter finish, peaceful, psychedelic, and improvised-sounding, ending with a standalone feedback hum that gives way to the more active shuffle at the launch of “Suns of the Future.”

Last of the three, “Suns of the Future” is more upbeat, with steady kickdrum hits from Beach propelling its verses, an open chorus and effective tradeoffs between louder and softer stretches united by the delivery of Valle, which carries just the slightest tinge of Americana twang. A natural, classic heavy vibe persists, but Mecca is thoroughly modern, and along with the memorable songwriting, that bodes well for where Sun Voyager might go from here. You can check out Mecca (and Cosmic Tides, for that matter) now as part of the regular playlist on The Obelisk Radio, and get a sampling of the tracks on the Bandcamp player below. Either way, enjoy:

Sun Voyager, Mecca (2013)

Sun Voyager on Bandcamp

Sun Voyager on Thee Facebooks

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