Local garage rock trio Ugly Sun have wrapped up an impressive first year in existence with an excellent EP in Painted Post that’s a perfect summation of what this band, and the Rust Belt rock revival they’re part of, are all about. Anchored by Trey Hollowood’s post rock-guitar heroics, the sharp and insistent drums of Harrison Crook and his brother John’s versatile bass and unfailingly melodic wail, the four jams on Painted Post are beautifully messed up.
Kicking off with defiance and grit, “Marble Eye,” a real winner from their live set, crushes from the start, thanks to warm riffs that also grinds and stomps under a deft, cranked up Beach Boys chorus, while “Soil” is subversive liberation, jangly guitars, and an ode to getting dirty while we can before we ultimately getting dirty with the worms six feet under, an ethos I can thoroughly get down with while the city rapidly gentrifies around us, with spotless tattoo joints and marketed and sanitized second hand “grit.” Get dirty.
Ugly Sun keeps it nasty on the subterranean “Contagious,” which exists within a tight, claustrophobic space that doesn’t offer a whole lot of relief, with John Crook’s underwater vocals fighting for air and some release, found thanks to more surprisingly sweet harmonies that carry the sing-a-long chorus. “Keep Me Safe” rolls in a swinging bass line and an upbeat, jangly guitar to ultimately finish off the EP with an aching, fiery snarl.
Tight and potent, Painted Post presents a band always searching for release, some roots, and a good time, so really I hope Ugly Sun only finds that next good time because that quest of theirs makes for some crushingly compelling garage rock.
Celebrate Ugly Sun’s newest release August 15th at Sewing Souls with Cooler, Super American, and Retirement Party. In the meantime, stream Painted Post below.