You can do a lot with Garage Band nowadays. Joshua McLaughlin, in debuting his solo project, Rebel Son Rise, makes no bones about performing and recording every instrument on his new 11-song Sunshine on Daemon Land with nothing but that piece of software and a trusty Shure SM58.
And you can tell. It's an audible sculpture, where you ponder the individual welds and hammerings; the songs are massive enough for you to take a walk around and consider every angle. There are times, as on the fogged-up "Ubuntu Death Daze," where things get downright ponderous, 45s being played at 33 rpm. It has an industrial, manufactured feel to it.
The "Cerberean Hounds" that finish the record plod through a thunderstorm to the accompaniment of congas.
This is not likely the album you're expecting from a guy who recently joined the very-metal Nobis, though. It's heavy in tone, with "Sometimes the shadows rule the day and bleed into the night" kind of macabre imagery, but the musical packaging is lighter and more playful than form might indicate. There are hints of Pink Floyd's The Wall in ethereal tunes like "In My Heart" and the pounding pipe-and-drum war anthem of "Rebels on the Rise."
"Like Come on Through" wouldn't sound out of place on Milled Pavement's site and turns into a head-nodder by its finish. "Oh Baby I Love Ye" starts out with a tribal, Apocalypse Now feel, but vamps into Boy George with black eye-shadow for the chorus, with keyboards buzzing in for melodic undertones.
There's a lot to ponder here. The album gets points for level of difficulty and some innovative choices. It's no instant sing-along, but it's the kind of record you can listen to without needing other distractions and really spend some time with, should you so choose.
SUNSHINE ON DAEMON LAND | Released by Rebel Son Rise | with Jacob Augustine | at Empire, in Portland | Oct 12 | rebelsonrise.bandcamp.com
: CD Reviews
, Pink Floyd, The Wall, Garage Band