Dusted Reviews

Sunburned Hand of the Man - Wedlock

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Sunburned Hand of the Man

Album: Wedlock

Label: Eclipse

Review date: Aug. 14, 2005

By my count, this double LP is the fifth Sunburned clan project to drop in 2005, a year in which the band has been mining consistently fresh and often rewarding musical territory. The CD-Rs Manhunt in D and Zample, as well as the Bastet release No Magic Man, sport tighter funkier Krautrock grooves and a new interest in chopped and looped sample excursions and pure electronic experimentation. Wedlock was actually recorded in June 2003, during the Alaskan wedding of members Paul Labrecque and Valerie Webb. In hindsight, it becomes a prequel, transitioning away from the more chest-rattlingly chaotic tribal squall of earlier efforts, serving as the missing link to the group’s newly emerging aesthetic.

The opening “Procession” cuts up snippets of pre-wedding festivities and is as bold a recorded statement as the group has ever made. Little bits of Beethoven piano sonatas, slide guitar riffs and jovial conversation vie for prominence in a collage that’s somehow never too busy. “Procession” segues cinematically into “Tent City Roller,” which sounds, in comparison, more like one of the beat-driven long-form freakouts beloved of SHOTM fans. All the jingle-jangle rhythms and rattles are present, and so are the customary delay-drenched vocal rants, but the whole thing is subservient to a loping hypnofunk beat that gradually morphs into a grinding Krautgroove more reminiscent of early Can than of 2003 Sunburned. Sure, other tracks on the album bring back the largely acoustic and polyrhythmic noise-wall so commonly associated with this group – “Salmon Sez” being a noteworthy example – but the epic title track is another fauret into the uhr-groove. After an electronically tinged industrial opening section, the 1970s kick in with a vengeance; the drums are way in the pocket, the heavily phased guitar and minimally riffing bass are infectious and fun.

In fact, fun abounds throughout Wedlock, due in large part to the fact that everybody sounds like they’re having a hell of a time. Energy and excitement levels are obviously high, and every one of the seven tracks here is shot through with snippets of conversation, laughter and excesses of celebration. The best man’s speech ends the last side on an abstractly humorous and touching note, just before somebody (Val?) says “Alright, let’s do this cake thing.” It’s a fittingly spontaneous conclusion to a neat piece of real-life performance art.

By Marc Medwin

Other Reviews of Sunburned Hand of the Man


The Trickle Down Theory of Lord Knows What

Bootleg LP

Rare Wood


Fire Escape

Read More

View all articles by Marc Medwin

Find out more about Eclipse

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.