SUN DOMINGO – Songs For End Times (2011)
The progressive rock band Sun Domingo from Atlanta, USA, has been around for several years. They have toured and recorded with Marillion, Pineapple Thief and other known prog acts. Clearly, they’re associating with all the right people.
During the second half of 2010 some line-up changes took place and it all came together for the recording of their new album “Songs For End Times”.
Founder Edgel Groves completed the new line-up with his longtime friend Kyle Corbett. Being a musician with a great voice, an incredible guitar technique (he also wrote a book about guitar technique and alternate tuning) and an amazing composer as well, Kyle added a whole new feel to the band.
The album was recorded and engineered by John Holmes, co-produced and mixed by Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief).
Steve Hogarth (Marillion) contributes guest vocals. The estimable Adrian Belew, something of a legend in Progrock circles also offers a guest appearance on one track, as does John Wesley of the Porcupine Tree.
So, a band moving in elevated company.
It’s not easy marrying prog with melodic rock. You can end up pleasing nobody.
But when it works – like it does here – you widen your appeal to a much bigger audience. Here, the two genres are mixed with the odd pop wildcard, knitted together by dazzling musicianship and beautifully blended arrangements.
A natural union, giving birth to some plangent melodic progrock.
After the instrumental landscape of opener “The Last Sunrise”, “Bound By These Rings” and “Anymore” have much more of a Westcoast Rock vibe, that’s in a geographical, ‘soft rock’ sense rather than in genre terminology.
“For Only You” will remind you of the Flower Kings, or maybe more so Stolt’s current band, Agents Of Mercy. A post-prog calm track.
The grandiloquence of “It’s Happening Now” adds a Floydian tone, with ringing guitar tones and solos very Gilmour. This is one of the most beautiful songs on the CD.
Elsewhere, we’re treated to the Kings X-esque progfunk with the instrumental “Mad Maze” and its mighty guitar solo, while the pop tingled ‘Find A Way Out’ is a classy track with a quirky lyrical phrasing and pizzicato strings. Both tracks show a rare versatility and musicality, and a firm grasp of sound songwriting.
The short “The Call” is an good example of experimenting with sound technique rather than a ‘real’ song. It’s followed by “Till Then We Wait”, featuring Steve Hogarth’s vocals. Great guitar solo, slow but sharp.
Sun Domingo is a more than interesting band with innovative ideas and a particular sound taking Marillion as inspiration.
They blend many styles, being very accessible (most tracks around 4:00 min. long) and commercial at times, but retaining the characteristic prog-rock experimentation.
Powerful images and some memorable music / arrangements are deployed on “Songs For End Times” with absolute precision. Not the cold, clinical precision for which so much prog is known, but the kind that flows effortlessly, gracefully, lucid and sharp.
01 – The Last Sunrise
02 – Bound By These Rings
03 – For Only You
04 – Anymore
05 – It’s Happening Now
06 – Mad Maze
07 – Call
08 – Till Then We Wait
09 – Find A Way Out
10 – Meditation
11 – Love Is All Around You
12 – It’s Happening Now (acoustic)
Kyle Corbett – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Richie Torrance – Drums
Edgel Groves Jr – Guitar, Vocals, percussion
Daniel Gordon – Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
Steve Hogarth – Vocals
Adrian Belew – Guitar
John Wesley – Guitar, Vocals
Bruce Soord – Guitar, keyboards
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