24 March 2014

Masters Of Reality - Sunrise On The Sufferbus

Way back in 1991 I had an album on cassette that I listened to tons, it was an album sampler for Def American records called Til Def Us Do Part. It was first place I’d properly heard some of the artists on it, all of which I still listen to today. It featured 1 or 2 songs by: Slayer, The Black Crowes, The Four Horsemen, Danzig, Trouble and a strange, piano led, rock song about a fortune telling machine (like Zoltar Speaks in the film BIG) called Doraldina’s Prophecies. It was by Masters Of Reality who I had never heard of in my life. It gradually became my favourite song on the album. Thus began my love of the band.

Masters Of Reality is, in essence, one man:  Chris Goss. The rest of the band are very much an open policy, Like Queens Of The Stone Age (various members of QOTSA have played in Masters Of Reality at one stage or another, including Nick Homme).  Their musical style has always varied wildly, often album to album but the one constant is Chris’s voice. He has a very warm and relaxing tone to his voice that’s instantly recognisable whatever style of music he’s crooning over.

Sunrise On The Sufferbus was their second album and released in 1992. The line up on ths occasion was Chris Goss on Vocals and Gutar, Googe on bass and, bizarrely, Ginger Baker on Drums.

It was recorded at the renowned Sound City studios and that’s the main reason for this review. Eddie wanted us all to review some of the many many albums recorded there as a long term project. This was the first album I saw on the list that I HAD to review.

It opens with one of their most well-known songs, She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On). It’s a lively, blues driven song that only features a couple of lines of words repeated. It’s infectious and the sort of thing you find yourself humming on the toilet.

Things wind down after that though with the next three songs:  J.B. Witchdance, a slow, bluesy song with mostly spoken word vocals. Jody Sings is a sixties style folk ballad and sounds like something by The Beatles. It’s a really pretty song and one of my favourites. After that comes Rolling Green, a summery, semi-acoustic pop song that evokes images of lush meadows and picnics.

Things pick up the pace a little with Ants In The Kitchen that, again, has a sixties feel to it but is more guitar heavy that Jody Sings. V.H.V. Is a slow, ponderous Stoner Rock song that reminds me a little of Yer Blues by The Beatles in places.

There are a few throwaway songs on Sunrise On The Sufferbus, such as Madonna and Bicycle which are sub 1-minute little interludes. And T-USA sees Gnger Baker reading a poorly written poem about how bad Americans are at making tea. It’s not very good.

100 Years (Of Tears In The Wind) is another of their better known songs and is a grand, sweeping Prog epic that’s laden with strings and atmosphere. Tilt-A-Whirl is the most upbeat and lively song on the album, excluding perhaps She Got Me. It’s an album highlight for me. Rabbit One slows things right back down again with some head nodding psychedelia.

The final two songs are Gimme Water and The Moon In Your Pocket. The former is another sixties influenced rocker with a nice undulating riff and the latter, and album closer, sounds like an old Elvis ballad that’s a nice if forgettable finale.

So Sunrise On The Sufferbus then, is a good album with some of the bands most well-known songs but when compared to some of their best albums like  Pine/Cross Dover, Deep In The Hole or their magnificent debut The Blue Garden it’s not quite good enough.

Best Song: Jody Sings

6 out of 10 - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there

Listen to it on Spotify HERE

Buy it on Amazon HERE

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