August 3, 2018
February 25, 2017
Physical CD including CD, Booklet and artwork.
Cliff de Booij – July 24, 2018
Finally the long awaited 2nd Sunfire album, ‘Sinners’ Town’, has arrived. Over the past year the band has build up quite a live reputation and the question is, will the new album deliver on those expectations? The answer: ‘Hell Yeah!’ This CD is just as good as their live shows. So anyone who has seen Sunfire perform live and loved it, you can buy this album blind. You won’t be disappointed.
Now for those who don’t know the band, Sunfire started out as a solo project of Singer-songwriter Satria Karsono, but he always wanted to develop it into a real band. The chance came when violinist Sophie Zaaijer, guitarist Berend de Vries and bass player Michel Beeckman joined Satria to form Sunfire as we now know it. Soon the four of them came out with the first single ‘Jordan’. An energetic western folk song, build around Satria’s strong vocals, Sophie’s violin skills and a grooving, rocking guitar and bass section behind it, making the song an instant live favourite. Past winter Sunfire hit the studio. First they visited Fieke van der Hurk at her Dearworld studio. With her help the band recorded the songs ‘Jordan’, ‘Bird’ and ‘Woman’. After that it was of to Berend’s own studio, where Sunfire recorded the other songs of the album. Berend is also responsible for the mix of the album, and now, with everything done, the band announced the official release date. August the 3d!
The album kicks of with ‘Soul’. An uptempo bluegrass song with a lovely vintage sound to it. On stage Satria uses a replica of an old style microphone that was popular in the 50’s, and Berend made sure to capture that same sound on the CD. On ‘Sinners’ Town’ Sunfire plays up beat, rock and roll influenced, blue grass. Served up with chili, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika! Lot’s of it! Making the music feel like the Sonora desert, red, hot and dirty. You would easily think that Eddie Cochran stepped into the studio, plugged in and played along just for the fun of it.
The second song ‘Jordan’ is the first song the band wrote together and a firm live favourite by now. Berend told me that, as most songs on ‘Sinners’ town’, Satria came into the rehearsal room with a basic idea and the band started jamming, building the song up together. Actually the song forms a nice blueprint for Sunfire’s sound . It starts with a dirty grooving riff from both Berend and Michel on guitar and bass. Then Sophie takes the lead with on violin. Well actually she just starts a solo that lasts through the whole song, with Berend’s guitar riffs backing her. The finishing touch comes from Satria’s vocals. He has a strong soulful voice with a big reach and a lot of lungs behind it. The scream towards the end of the song really comes from the bottom of his toes. You gotta love him for that.
‘Bird’ is the first ballad on the CD. And Satria’s vocals come to their own here. Warm, soulful, with just that bit of sandpaper on the edges to make it perfect. He actually sounds like Pearl jam’s Eddie Vedder at certain points in this song. It would sum up Sunfire’s sound quite nicely, now that I think of it… Eddie Vedder meeting up with Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora in a bar late at night and then deciding to do some bluegrass songs at the spot. Joined by violinist Nigel Kennedy, who just happened to walk by.
The comparison with Nigel Kennedy becomes really clear in ‘Woman’. A second, more uptempo, ballad that really features Sophie’s talent as a violinist. It’s wonderful to hear how her violin melodies and Satria’s vocals blend in together through this song ánd the whole of the CD.
With ‘Shot’ the band picks up speed again. It’s a really dark song. The sound is heavy, threatening with that mean guitar and violin riff starting the song. That feel also returns in it’s text. On ‘Sinners’ town’ the lyrics go into the darker side of human nature. With the ‘good old’ west as a theme to put those observations in. Satria manages to keep the tongue in cheek humor that he is known for in there, be it a bit sarcastic at certain times. Overall the style reminds me a lot of the way Nick Cave writes his lyrics. In the middle of the song the furious pace suddenly drops down, making the song way more interesting, before Sophie gets another solo in: ‘Burn that fiddle up!’
‘Sinners’ Town’ Keeps giving like this. ‘Waltz’ is indeed a waltz, but western folk style. ‘Roadburn’ is another up tempo rock song where Satria gives his all, (Paul Rodgers, eat you heart out.) But the whole band oozes out soul here. Just listen to that grooving foundation Michel is laying down. It’s like a machine flattening everything in front of him. At the end of the song Sophie and Satria have a musical battle who can add the largest amount of emotion into this epic song! I assure you, we are the winners of thát battle. Berend likes to record the music in long takes. His instruction on the first take is always is to do the whole song. The benefit is that the musician then gets into a groove and pours everything he or she has into a song, giving the album a real natural and live vibe.
The acoustic ‘The war is won’, gives a beautiful moment of rest on the CD, bringing out the poet in Satria’s writing. A beautiful ‘Native American’ blues song.
Staying with the lyrics, ‘Reapers’ Train’ is the best one. Me and my girlfriend both like Terry Pratchet’s Discworld novels a lot. One of the highlights for us is DEATH and the way he always ‘discusses” with people just about to be taken away. Reasoning with them how it is not so bad being dead and that it would be highly convenient if they would just come with him, instead of him having to chase them all over the world, much more convenient. I’m sure if Terry Pratchet would still be around today he would have DEATH sing this intro in his next book, ‘to lighten up the occasion.’
To conclude what was supposed to be a small review, Sunfire is a band that are at the brink of an international break through. In my opinion they have the talent, they are putting in the hours and with Sinners’ town they have the perfect tool in hand to do so. It’s that good. All they need now is a bit of luck and our support. Just go see them on their next gig and get this CD. Let’s make this happen!
Helen Kloosterman – August 18, 2018
Toegegeven, ik was echt wel een beetje sceptisch van tevoren… Hoe gaat het nieuwe album mij bevallen? Ga ik de variëteit van “Sunfire” missen op een (naar mijn smaak) misschien wel iets te zeer “conceptalbum”? Maar niets is minder waar. Was ik al enthousiast over het eerste album, “Sinners’ Town” is absoluut een zeer geslaagd project! Bewees Satria op “Sunfire” al een multitalent te zijn, zijn sound komt op dit album nog beter tot zijn recht dankzij de geweldige ondersteuning van Berend, Michel en Sophie. Chapeau, dame en heren! Keep up the good work!
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