Have you been seeking out some new rock and roll that kicks you in the gut and makes you stand up and scream, “Hell Yeah!” Well, look no further than California’s Black Sunshine. Their self titled debut album was unleashed back in May, and my only regret is that I didn’t get my hands on this disc sooner. Wrapped in heavy riffs, dark tones, and blasting with rock and roll, Black Sunshine is a fun album to enjoy this summer.
Black Sunshine is fronted by the gritty vocals of lead singer Matt Reardon. His dirty voice (reminiscent of Josey Scott from Saliva) is a perfect match for the music that the rest of the band performs. Having been an extreme skier in a previous life, Reardon knows how to come at his audience hard, fast, and with astonishing results.
The lead single “Once In My Life” is a fantastic track. Opening with a slow, folksy build, the song bursts into hard and heavy about 40 seconds in. “Once In My Life” is a great overview of the “Black Sunshine” sound. Heavy on vocals and guitars, but rooted with a rhythm section that keeps perfect time, “Once In My Life” should be a modern rock radio hit in no time.
Guitarist Charles Lee showcases some of his hard chops throughout the record, most notably on the album’s best song, “Slave.” “Slave” is a masterpiece of music, brilliant in vocals, guitars, bass, and drums. The lyrics hit home hard, as Reardon sings about not wanting to be a slave to the 9 to 5 grind. We need to untie the noose and be set free. Go after what you want in life and don’t conform to what society tells you that you have to be. Nothing is more rock and roll than that. And coming from a guy who had to reinvent himself after a severe skiing accident nearly cost him his life, the message in “Slave” is that much more meaningful.
Want mellow tunes to compliment the heavy rockers? “Black Sunshine” has those too. “Cannonball” slows things down a bit, blending acoustic and electric guitars with soft drums and Reardon’s higher octave vocals. “Cannonball” is the classic, gritty, modern rock ballad done in the style of Hinder or Saliva. The music is slowed down, but still powerful, and the arrangement on this song is high quality. A powerful ballad, it’s almost certain that “Cannonball” will be released as a single sometime in the near future.
“Hell Yeah” is the only song on the album that was somewhat of a disappointment. A solid track overall, Black Sunshine followed the theme of Nickelback’s “Animal” but left the heaviest punches off of this track. The song tells the tale of the narrator having some fun with a girl that “grinds his gears” and telling her father not to wait up for them. Too familiar to Nickelback’s lines of “that’s her Dad outside the car” and “I got both hands on the wheel while she’s got both hands on my gear” but without the wit, “Hell Yeah,” was a bit of a letdown.
Filled with heavy guitars, an outstanding rhythm section, and a lead vocalist that has range and power, Black Sunshine is a fun band to listen to. Their eponymous debut album is loaded with riffs and beats that every hard rocker loves to hear. Bound to be a summer sensation, “Black Sunshine” is an album that should be added to every rock and roll collection. Without question, Black Sunshine is an exceptional group worth your attention. They certainly have my vote for best new band of 2010. Do yourself a favor and check out their hard rocking debut album, available in stores now.
Rating: Out of 10
- Holy Gasoline
- Burn To Shine
- Once In My Life
- Hell Yeah
- Flying Sideways
- Psycho Babble