It is impossible to try and label The Bastard Suns. They are a punk rock band that dabbles in reggae, ska, thrash, and a little bit of bluegrass for good measure. One would think that this would make an album hard to follow, but for the Suns, it is their strength. “Long Live Song,” their newest full-length release, isn’t as cohesive as their previous album “Here Come the Suns” or their four EP set “A Band for All Seasons,” but it is a great listening experience nonetheless.
The album, true to their style, jumps from genre to genre. The opening track “Right Place/Wrong Time” is a punk track through and through. From there, they move directly to the reggae track “Enlighten Up,” and then back to more traditional punk for the third. While it may be jarring to some, it is what they do, and they do it well. It’s why one becomes a fan in the first place; the Suns are different, refreshing, and fun. From the pure ska of “Charlene” to “Annie Bar the Door” (which is the equivalent of a musical barroom brawl) to the low-keyed “Convalescence,” Clay’s vocals suit those various genres, and Wes Driscoll’s guitar is never a letdown.
It should be noted that this album was made possible through Kickstarter. With no record label or funding, the Suns looked to their fans. In a world of BitTorrents and music theft, it’s good to know there are fans out there loyal enough to aid a band they believe in.
Punk, ska, reggae, bluegrass: ‘Long Live Song’ has it all. It, just like The Bastard Suns themselves, is an unpretentious amalgam of genres and influences, and it melds together and just works perfectly.
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