This is the debut album from Philadelphia-based sextet, The Naked Sun, a band who began their quest for “honest rock” in 2011; after a 2013 E.P., Space, Place and Time, they unleashed a full-length, War With Shadows, in January and it showcases the band’s width for making interesting music.  The collection blends the basics of roots-rock and folk with layers of bolstering piano and organ, intricate pedal steel runs and melodic choruses – backed by satisfying harmonies.

The opening cut, “Do You Wanna Dance?” has a very nice, breezy, mid-’80’s pop feel (think bands like The Ocean Blue, etc.) – finely textured with tastefully nuanced effects and soundscapes mixed into the upbeat tempo and crisp guitar figures, along with very warm vocals and supporting harmonies; the country style of “Burke Hollow” is on-the-one, complete with tight harmony, shimmering guitars, sympathetic piano and catchy, while “Rose Gold” continues in the country vein with pedal steel runs and harmonica, making it a fine study in writing a modern country-pop classic.  “Purple Sunset” with its semi-R.E.M.-type opening guitar arpeggios is another upbeat piece with a great bass and drum interplay – and the bridge builds up into a throttling intensity, which kicks the song into high gear; “Jellyfish” is another of these “driving” tracks, with motoring drums and builds and builds with tension and drama while “Clouds” closes out this effort in a low-key manner, framed by an acoustic background which moves into a sweetly quiet country melody and structure (the use of cello is a very nice touch).

All around, a very fine debut release from this band.  Impressive – never precious and musically delectable.  The Naked Sun has delivered a first album that shines.  Give this one a whirl – you’ll get what I mean immediately.


War With Shadows is currently available

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About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

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