I recently discovered that Examiner.com is no more. With it went all my old reviews as the SF Indie Music Examiner. I managed to save a few, so I’m going to post them for you here.
‘The Full Sun’ is the debut album for Scott Pinkmountain and the Golden Bolts of Tone, produced under local San Francisco record label “Howell’s Transmitter.” The band is one of Scott Rosenberg’s many musical projects, which have ranged from jazz and roots rock to experimental and avant-garde musical compositions that often involve entire orchestras. Among the more interesting trivia points about this album, it took around sixty musicians to create, and one track involves a choir of bassoons! But there’s a lot more to Pinkmountain’s work than this.
‘The Full Sun’ is a concept album about love and the ways in which it breaks down. The album opens with a folk inspired singing style blended with a reverential, worshipful tone. In this song, Pinkmountain describes the love of his life. His lyrics tend towards the cerebral and poetic. Unlike the words to many songs, the lyrics could stand on their own as a literary work.
The relationship Pinkmountain describes in the first song ‘Song of Solomon’ immediately begins to breakdown. By the second track ‘I Shall Not Be Released,’ the relationship is already in trouble with lyrics like ‘But every once in awhile we get things right. The sun she shines in the middle of the night.’ The album continues to explore the downward spiral love can take, until Pinkmountain arrives at a song titled ‘Angel of Death.’ This track features wonderfully brilliant, descriptive lines like ‘Her long nails are honed and tipped with a novocaine, when they plunge through your chest you get high from the pain.’
While the theme of the album lyrically follows the downward descent of love into darkness with consistent references to women as otherworldly – they are all goddesses, demons, or angels -the music itself follows a different path. It ebbs and flows like the tides. Every track seems to display different blends of musical styles. Some songs are rich with a majestic, swelling orchestral sound, but include highly emotional electric guitar riffs. Other songs offer a more restrained folk and church organ music sound, as though you are listening to a hymn. Still other tracks offer intriguing cacophony – drums beat wildly, orchestras play tones that are hard on the ear. Sometimes sythnesizers appear to provide trancy sound effects. When none of that is going on there’s always a little bit of pop and big band. And ever present are Pinkmountain’s vocals, which alternate between a soft folk style and something that reminds you of a person who’s just about to have a mental breakdown. It’s the perfect singing style for a man singing about the descent of love into despair.
It’s one of the most unique blends of musical styles I’ve ever listened to. What I love best about this album is that I get something different each time I hear it. There will be a new way to interpret Pinkmountain’s lyrics, or a new set of sounds I hadn’t noticed before. And always, with this album, there is a lot to think about. The English major in me wants to analyze all the lyrics and write a dissertation on this album – it would be entirely possible given its complexity. The rest of me wants to recommend this album to anyone who likes offbeat, brilliant lyrics and musicianship that seamlessly blend literary references with every musical genre imaginable.
You can get your copy of the album here: The Full Sun – Scott Pinkmountain and the Golden Bolts of Tone