Sungrazer – “Mirador” (Electrohasch Records 2011, EH 150)

This is the second album from this Dutch trio of Rutger Smeets (guitar and vocals), Hans Mulders (drums) and Sander Haagmans (bass and vocals). I gotta say, these guys have really perfected the “heavy/mellow” vibe. Combining floating vocal harmonies with slow grooves and heavy riffs, they create a sound reminiscent of Colour Haze and early Queens of the Stone Age, which is thoroughly in play in the laidback opener Wild Goose and the dreamy closer 34 & more… But in between, they take things in their own direction, whether it’s the bluesy plunder of Goldstrike or the blistering instrumental rock of Octo, their songs are filled with hypnotic rhythms and clever riffing.

They are not at all afraid of pushing the psych and space envelopes either. The epic 14-minute long Behind, in particular, is a tour-de-force with its languid, mesmerizing grooves, swirling psychedelic phrasing and druggy vocal harmonies; a slow burning voyage, metamorphosing into a trippy jam that spirals through spacey mellow outs to deliciously fuzzed out intense dream bliss. Tasty stuff!

The title track even veers into clear spacerock territory with its wild wooshes of guitar noise and the underlying spacey textures that permeate the distorted jamming. One of the things I really like about this band is their thorough willingness to pull things right back away from the stoner grooves and just get spacey for a bit. An excellent track for this is Sea, which dips into chilled waters throughout the middle of the piece.

While still retaining the strong Colour Haze influence from their first album, Sungrazer are maturing and starting to explore their own sonic realms, and it makes Mirador a potent, blissed out musical journey worth taking again and again.

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Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

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