New Sun - Affects

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Blue Seven Music
Catalog Number: NS102CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:36:00

New Sun wear their influences on their sleeve: Rush, Pink Floyd, Marillion and others. There are the deep, dark guitar tones of 80's-90's Rush, such that there are phrases here and there that will remind of specific Rush tunes. And yet, at other times, the music hews closely to late 80's Pink Floyd. And at still other times, Marillion. There is enough freshness in some of the arrangements, though, to make this not just well worth a listen but also lifts it above mere mimicry.

Affects is their most recent release (1998), coming nearly three years after their debut Fractured, which was just as much Rush influenced, but less so on the Pink Floyd and Marillion.

The eight tracks on this disk are a mix of instrumentals and vocal tracks, and yet there is one theme that touches upon all of them: memory. Well, perhaps excepting the opening instrumental "Dark The Azure Sky" (of course, if you can picture it, you may be remembering it...). Much of this music is played in the same way - atmospherics give way to understated vocals. It is the vocal style which separates New Sun from their influences, at least those influences.

Chris Trujillo handles vocals on "Prometheus," where they are employed as almost another instrument, mixed equal in the mix as they are. His tone is deep, rich, and pleasant to listen to. Musically, this one hints at 80's Rush. This is where the theme is first stated, in the opening lines of "Memories are lost so easily/Reminders are so seldom seen."

The theme is followed in the instrumental "Acquired Muscle Memory," which is full of dark, yet warm, atmospherics of low pitched keys and sampled sounds with a decidedly bronze tone-color. The lead guitar lines are Gilmore-esque as they sing out high and clear (cool and crisp). The combination between this and the keyboard are so heavily Floyd-esque that this sounds too much like the intro into "Learning To Fly" off Floyd's Momentary Lapse of Reason. There are slight variations, of course, as there are hints of electronic musician Steve Roach.

The dark and moody (and creepy) "Cyrus Gore" can't really be pinned down influence-wise. Christopher Scott takes lead vocals and sounds a bit like Eddie Vedder in the verses. Here the memory has taken form and shape ... and vengence. It's one part X-Files, one part ghost story (same thing I guess).

"Cause and Effect" is a mix of a bit of Jethro Tull Celtic rock and what can only be described as Marillion-esque (cf "Holidays In Eden.").

Moving on to the end of the album, "Question" made me think of both Spock's Beard in their more subtle moments and of Kevin Gilbert - electrified acoustic instrumentally, gentle and light vocal delivery, poignant lyrics. Written for a friend who passed away (by his own hand possibly, but that is left somewhat ambigious), it seems both universal and personal at the same time. It's one of those effecting songs, perhaps more so if you've lost someone close, whether naturally or not.

This album is apty named, as "affect" means to have an effect, or influence upon. The bands they reference have had an effect on them, which makes this a tip of the hat to the bands and the music they've enjoyed. The music is solid, played with confidence and skill. "FYB (The Deceptionist)" is the one I liked the least, musically. There is a warped or skewed feel to the arrangment. If there are any complaints, it is that too often the vocals are lost in the mix when they should be a bit more out front; there is a certain closeness to the production at times, a muddyness that while audible, doesn't ... ahem ... affect the listeners enjoyment overly much.

If you like any of the bands mentioned above, you should like this. I find I'm liking it more and more with each listen, finding nuances that can only reveal themselves after repeated plays.

Dark the Azure Sky (1:18) / Prometheus (6:25) / Acquired Muscle Memory (3:55) / Cyrus Gore (9:47) / Cause & Effect (4:35) / ...But For The Gleam In Her Eye (1:41) / FYB (the Deceptionist) (8:41) / Question (7:34)

D. L. Erickson - guitars and keyboards
Alex Kley - bass
Christopher Scott - guitars, vocals, keyboards, acillatem processor, samples
Chris Trujillo - drums, percussion, and vocals

Fractured (1995)
Affects (1997)
Expectations (2001)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: December 13th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 983
Language: english


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