Alunah + support [live review]

Alunah; Isak; Solar Sons
Bannerman’s, Edinburgh, 16/05/15

Don’t need riches; don’t need wealth….all I need is Alunah. 
alun

Despite having only been a band for almost a year now, Dundonians Solar Sons play a honed set of adept and layered heavy prog rock, creating an expansive sound that defies their three man rank.  Rather than getting lost in unbecoming space psych epics however, Solar Sons remain in the gravitation pull of their grooving riffs while introducing their progressive capabilities with the impressive guitar work and textures created by the dual vocal approach.  It’s not exactly heavy, definitively more for the prog and psych rock fans among us, but engaging and noteworthy nonetheless (7/10).

Though not initially totally blown away by Isak’s self-titled EP (see here), since then their stoner rock groove has been rapidly desertifying my brain, the fuzzed-up riffs and soulful vocals whipping up quite the sandstorm.  Live the band have an added grit and reverberating presence; and most notably the vocals are impressively robust and expressive, true to the recording.  Recommended (7/10).

Ordinarily I like to scrawl my two cents on a gig the very next day, when it’s still fresh in mind, ringing in ears and festering in liver.  But this time I just couldn’t do it.  Why?  Because thinking of a way to translate my hyperbolic feelings on Alunah at that point without coming across as a blabbering manic was just too hard.  Yet somehow I don’t think it’s going to be any easier today…

Alunah’s incessantly haunting, Sabbath-esque psychedelic doom has already provided three full-length master-classes in mystic, foreboding doom, with second album, 2012’s White Hoarhound, soon to be re-issued.  Featuring tracks from each release, what seems like a mere minute long set, brims with crushing, groovey riffs and enchanting psychedelic licks.  And damn, those vocals.  Sophie Day, casually swigging from a hipflask, not only captives as a frontwoman but delivers with her distinctive, lingering and evocative voice.
Sadly the only disappointing aspect is the unjustified, slightly underwhelming reaction from the crowd, but this does nothing to quell the momentum of the band or warrant anything other than humble and amicable between song chat.  Regardless, Alunah are easily one of the best British bands going, their live apparition confounding such an assertion.  It will be a long-time yet for the intoxicating power of songs like Awakening the Forest, Heavy Bough and of course, White Hoarhound, performed live to wear off.  Bewitching stuff (8/10).

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