Author: Jan Jakobsen
Band: Yuma Sun
Album: Watch Us Burn
Genre: Occult Rock/Post-Punk/Country
Is occult country-rock a thing? Should it even be a thing at all? Well, Yuma Sun, the Bergen based quintet is as close to occult country-rock as it is possible to come. Gothic country or death country is already a thing, but those tags do not do accurately reflect on what Yuma Sun tries to embody with their music. The underlying theme of Yuma Sun and especially on Watch Us Burn and their previous two albums is the occult side of US southern evangelical Christianity and by combining elements of 60’s and 70’s occult rock together with a dark and mysterious country sound they manage to nail the sound of impending doom.
The occult side of their music especially shines on a track like Give Me Fever, mostly by combining an almost Nick Cave-ish vocal delivery with lyrics that longs for the end of times. There are also hints of indie-rock splashed throughout the album, with the most obvious offender being Judas Tree. The contrast of lyrics and music is certainly interesting though as the continuous shouting that Satan walks in is not something you’d expect from a track like this. The gothic elements of post-punk also shine through at times with Joy Division and their legendary album Unknown Pleasures being the main influence.
While you got impressive songs like St. Louise and Lord of Light where the country influence is the most apparent you also got some tracks that are just straight up skippable. Both Josephine and Mary are too slow and carry little to no value in the greater context of the album. There is obvious potential on Violets to Stone as well, but unfortunately the chorus is repetitive and monotonous as compared to the verses. The same goes for War Has Begun with just a few lines of the same lyrics being repeated time after time. High Road has a guest appearance from Sólstafir vocalist Aðalbjörn Tryggvason and it’s a slow doomy monster that captures the essence of the wild-west.
What Yuma Sun definitely has going for them though is their uniqueness as their self-proclaimed doomsday-rock is something I’ve never quite heard before. In addition to this, the lyrical themes easily draw you in to their very own world. The musicianship and vocal delivery ranges from very impressive to somewhat dull, but the production is top notch. All the instruments are audible and especially the drumming is impressive in the mix as they production enhances the doomsday beats to perfection.
- Jan Jakobsen