Crooked Sun
Demo


3.0
good

Review

by ScuroFantasma USER (38 Reviews)
April 20th, 2014 | 115 replies


Release Date: 04/01/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Crooked Sun’s band-name becomes a self-fulfilling metaphor, as the music within mirrors similar traits to the fractured sunbeams that would, presumably, be cast from such a twisted star.

"You only get one chance to make a first impression". As cliché and hollow as that statement has become, its relevance, even today, is undeniable. Such a proverb is just as applicable to bands and musicians as it is to human interaction. Often, the first encounter, if unpleasant, may very well be the last. So we find ourselves dealing with the precarious subject of demo material. Ideally, albums such as these are released in order to showcase a musician or bands potential and talent, while simultaneously flying under the banner of ‘demo’ and thus pardoning the anticipated production flaws and basic-structures which accompany such releases. More often than not, however, these inherently imperfect demos offer the only form of greeting extended from a band to its potential listeners. The first tentative steps in a bands career may very well be the last if critical reception ensues. With such an important and future-impacting phase beginning so soon, the pressure can be too much and creativity can suffer greatly.

With the potential hazards and consequences all summed up, it’s time to introduce ‘Demonstration’, the debut EP and ‘first impression’ of Crooked Sun.

Opening with a brief, thirty-second intro, dominated by reverberating guitar strumming which lead into a solemn, accentuated riff, the EP officially begins with the crowning achievement of the album; ‘Speaking Nothings’. As far as openers go, this track expertly delivers all the components that coalesce into a perfect introduction. Eschewing the merit of the song itself, it’s got everything it needs to welcome the listener into this EP by providing them with solid expectations. ‘Speaking Nothings’ reflects the subsequent album in both style and theme, as well as drawing the listener in through the extended introduction. As a standalone track, it offers up some of the best material from the EP, exhibiting some nuanced vocal layering and solid song writing. All-in-all, this EP is off to a steady beginning, and although the following track, ‘Crooked Sun’, isn’t as engaging or subtly charming as its predecessor, it is perhaps even more gloomy and depressing stylistically and thematically. The title track really does embody the name it carries and its deflated implications.

‘Shelter’ follows and offers, after a short vocal passage, a momentary respite from vocal input. With a solid and intriguing guitar-driven melody laying the framework for the instrumental component of this track, the stoic and melancholy vocals build up to a point that, without warning, drops off and relents to the soft and almost nonchalant instrumental flow. Belying the oppressive nature of the preceding two track, the relaxed nature of the instrumental-meander towards the end of this track is a welcome surprise and helps to break up the albums somewhat monotonous nature.

Scattered throughout the album are the occasional surprise, much like the previously mentioned tranquillity in the closing moments of ‘Shelter’. ‘Frail Spine’ offers up some mildly interesting electronic effects in a quasi-conclusion of sorts while the dual-guitar-layering in ‘Looking Back’ creates a sense of depth, but also encourages thought of haphazardness about the album as a whole.

As my summary suggests, there is a flip-side to embracing a band-name such as this one. There truly are some ‘fractures’ in the seemingly solid-if-simple façade of this EP. One major problem on this album is the generally repetition and lack of direction prevalent on the majority of the tracks. Sure, there are moments here and there, particularly if we include the bonus tracks into the argument, that change up the formula, but taken as a single listening experience this 6 track EP sounds very familiar towards the end. Concluding track ‘Looking Back’ does nothing different to the rest of the album and ends with an awkward sense of ‘incompleteness’ about, not only the track itself, but the album it was supposed to very neatly wrap-up. Maybe it is presumptuous to expect an awe-inspiring finale from a demo, but some form of closure would have been comforting. On the topic of this album ‘lacking direction’ these tracks seem to work towards a goal that never comes into play. With the exception of opening track ‘Speaking Nothings’, which reaches an anti-climactic climax (which is the only way to explain it) in which the vocals are briefly double-layered and the line “Never be or feel the ****ing same” is uttered with such hopelessness that the listener is forced to empathetically share the moment of despair with the artist. Otherwise, the album is devoid of a general goal. The uncertain ending doesn’t help either, giving a sense that the entire album is meaningless. Perhaps that was the point; some underlying irony about the album and its theme, but that’s a doubtful conclusion and is far too deep for what the album appears to be.

Another gripe I alluded to earlier is the crude production that plagues so many demo EP’s. Honestly, the production for the most part compliments the music, in the sense that the ‘uncaring’ and ‘hopeless’ appeal of the lyrics and musical atmosphere is cloned by the production value too. However, the amateur production draws even more attention to the simplistic character of the music, as well as the all-too-obvious lack of depth when a single guitar is the foundation for almost all of the tracks. Strangely, the guitar productions seem to be clearer than the vocals, which gives of a strange contrasting, not necessarily a flaw, but a matter of preference. Production issues are part-and-parcel when demos are involved, so listeners should be aware of this when listening to this or any demo.

Three bonus tracks accompany the six tracks that make up the official EP. Two or these are quite amazing ‘Teen Suicide’ covers. The other is an experimental ambient track which doubles as a collaborative effort with a female artist. Her soft voice, in spoken-word form, trickles through a short poem like a crystal-stream flowing over smooth pebbles. Ambient sound effects roam in the background and accompany the vocals, creating a hauntingly beautiful yet simplistic track that adds some much needed variety to the EP. The two ‘Teen Suicide’ covers are similar to the bulk of the tracks on the standard EP, however, they carry some significantly different attributes that, had they been interspersed throughout the EP, would have greatly increased the overall product.

Despite its faults; some preventable, others inherent; ‘Demonstration’ proves to be an enticing listen which relies on a simple chord-driven approach infused with dejected riffs to create an atmosphere dripping with emotion. Sparse effects and intelligent song structures prevent the album from wandering into banality, and the depressing vocals lift the entire experience. ‘Crooked Sun’ lives up to its name, for better and for worse. But the potential for greatness is just on the fringes of a warped and bleak horizon.



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user ratings (10)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
ScuroFantasma
April 20th 2014


2252 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A very solid and entertaining demo from Sput user GmemberKills.

Available from bandcamp: http://crookedsun.bandcamp.com/releases

Digging: Opeth - Deliverance

GmemberKills
April 20th 2014


950 Comments


Great review man. Thanks for writing it. I personally agree with most of your points, I'd say I'm
personally pleased with how most of the tracks turned out,but I'd say I was left with a sense of
emptiness over how the final track turned out. Honestly I admit I rushed this demo, mainly cause i was
dying to hear what people thought of my ideas.

I called this a demo for a reason though, I plan to release a longer EP with better vocal production,
while re-recording some of the songs and fleshing out a couple of the tracks more (Looking Back,
Shelter). While overall bringing new ideas to the table.

YakNips
April 20th 2014


11988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

but now your shirt comes offffff
i need something more toniiiiiight
than your wooooooord

Digging: Purge. - Sewage

laughingman22
April 20th 2014


1805 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cool I'll be sure to check this out

Digging: Peter Christopherson - Time Machines II

GmemberKills
April 20th 2014


950 Comments


Cool, I'll look forward to hearing what you gotta say.

laughingman22
April 20th 2014


1805 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like it. The wavy guitar is beautiful and the title of the band fits perfectly with the sound

The alone with only a guitar sound is sweet but I would enjoy some more instrumentation on future releases (maybe another guitar or bass) to give certain songs more depth and the album more diversity.


ScuroFantasma
April 20th 2014


2252 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm glad you like it Gmember. The statement I made about demos was a general one and not specifically about this demo. I look forward to the next EP.

GmemberKills
April 20th 2014


950 Comments


Thanks for the compliments laughingman22, glad you gave this demo a chance. A couple of the songs actually have multiple guitar tracks and even bass on one, its pretty low in the mix though. I definitely plan to add more depth to some of these songs on the next release.

Love it. I didn't think you were ScuroFantasma, i was just rambling and expressing my feelings on my demo. Glad you look forward to the next release.



laughingman22
April 20th 2014


1805 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

just listening to the song crooked sun I feel like a well placed bass would really make that song great but thats just my opinion. Excited to see what else you come up with

scottpilgrim10
April 20th 2014


4221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice job GmemberKills! I really enjoyed the demo especially Crooked Sun and Frail Spine.


Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

scottpilgrim10
April 20th 2014


4221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Also there is a typo in the lyrics of Speaking Nothings on your band camp page.
It says "I'll never me the same" and I think it's supposed to be I'll never be the same.

ScuroFantasma
April 21st 2014


2252 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Gmember - Ahh okay man, just making sure that you knew I was talking about what to expect from all demos and not just taking shots at yours. @laughingman22 - I agree man, some low bass on that song would be killer


GmemberKills
April 21st 2014


950 Comments


Appreciate it Scottpilgrim10, glad you checked it out! Your right about the lyrics man. I went an
fixed the typo, thanks for pointing it out.

@Scuro and laughingman, In "Crooked Sun" with some headphones on you can actually hear a faint bass
track i was toying with, I had issues with my bass though so it turned out really flat and quiet,
almost non-existent.

I got my bass fixed now, so its definitely a track i wanna redo.

ScuroFantasma
April 21st 2014


2252 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I just threw on some headphones and listened to the title track again, now that I'm looking for it I can faintly hear the bass, but, as you say, it's quite low in the mix. I seriously can't wait to hear the re-done versons of these songs though. Also, the more I listen to it, my favourite song might be 'Shelter' now, the last minute and a half is pure bliss.

fromtheinside
April 22nd 2014


18717 Comments


hmmmmmm interesting

Digging: Devin Townsend Project - Z2

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2014


6285 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Damn did not realize this had a review! Sweet review and sweet album, had a great flow and was really
easy to lose yourself in. The vocals could have been louder and clearer though, some better recording
equipment might help. Has potential to be way, way better, but hey this still rules.

Digging: maudlin of the Well - Leaving Your Body Map

GmemberKills
April 22nd 2014


950 Comments


@ScuroFantasma Yeah the bass was a issue i couldn't fix at the time. Cool to see someone mention 'Shelter', i tried to have the music come in an carry the rest of the song, while providing some light to the rather gloomy vibe surrounding it.

@Judio! Thanks so much for checking it out and rating it, i appreciate the compliments and I don't disagree at all the vocal quality is rather poor an some aspects to this demo i admit are kinda sloppy.

To everyone though, I'll be getting a new microphone tomorrow. I can't give a estimate for the next release but i guarantee It will have much better vocal production and have most of these songs in a better, clearer form.

Hopefully everyone that checked this, will bother to check it out when it does drop.

ScuroFantasma
April 23rd 2014


2252 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers Judio, I'm glad you like the review.

and GmemberKills, let me know when you release the next EP or any singles, I'm very interested in seeing where you take this next.

GmemberKills
May 13th 2014


950 Comments


If anyone wants to know, I've redone a couple songs and wrote a few new ones as well. yay

YakNips
May 29th 2014


11988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

tbh this would be better if you talked about revolution more and screamed about police brutality



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