Kyuss: Blues For The Red Sun

bluesfortheredsunWell the good news is I dodged a bullet. I was worried that by giving Kyuss’ debut album five clowns, I’d have nowhere to go but up as I worked into the peak of their catalog and be forced to give every album an indistinguishable five clowns. And let that be confirmation to me that I need to give every album the rating I think it deserves and not worry about gaming things too much. Because the bad news is that this album isn’t nearly as good as I remember it being.

The biggest problem with it is the sound. This is the album where they got away from the big, raw open sound they had on Wretch and really compressed everything and fuzzed it up big time. So why then, if it’s so super compressed, is it so quiet? Furthermore, everything’s muddled together when it should be dominated by fuzzy guitar tones.

The other big problem, and I actually do remember this being an issue when I listened to it back when it came out, is that it’s inconsistent, a feature exacerbated by the awful sequencing. After two great songs, “Thumb” and “Green Machine,” both of which would be mix CD candidates if the sound were halfway decent, they move into the meandering, downtempo instrumental “Molten Universe.” That type of song has no business being third. The album needs to start off with either “Thong Song” or “Green Machine” (probably the former) because they both start off with sparse instrumentation, as a way to bring listeners into the album and as a way to set off a song that doesn’t really fit super well with the album (another reason to put “Thong Song’ there).

In the end, there are just too many instrumentals, too many songs that sound too similar to each other, and too much time spent getting going rather than just going full speed ahead. I still really like this album, I like listening to it start to finish, but I think I’d given it too much credit for “Green Machine” and “Writhe” and I probably remember “Thumb” sounding a hell of a lot better, too.

As an aside, this disc has some of my all time favorite lyrics. You’ve got “You don’t seem to understand the deal/I don’t give two s**ts on how you feel” and “You tried to turn me on/But you couldn’t even turn me down” from “Thumb,” and then there’s “Allen’s Wrench,” which is like the best song to put together Ikea furniture to because it goes “Allen’s Wrench/That’s all you get.” I mean, I can’t see how it’s not about putting together Ikea furniture.

Filed Between: Kyuss’ Wretch and Kyuss
Mix: “Green Machine,” “Thong Song,” “Writhe”
Really Like: “Thumb,” “50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up),” “Apothecaries’ Weight,” “Freedom Run,” “Capsized,” “Allen’s Wrench”
Like: “Molten Universe,” “Caterpillar March,” “800,” “Mondo Generator”
Meh: “Yeah”
Song Notes: After the jump

  1. Thumb – has this always sounded this bad? “You tried to turn me on/But you couldn’t even turn me down”
  2. Green Machine – great running song, too
  3. Molten Universe – no business being third
  4. 50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up) –
  5. Thong Song –
  6. Apothecaries’ Weight –
  7. Caterpillar March –
  8. Freedom Run –
  9. 800 – the short one that leads into the next. considering with “Writhe,” to which it leads into great, I’d give it a really like, but on it’s own it’s just a like because there’s no release that you get right at the transition.
  10. Writhe –
  11. Capsized – 55 seconds and just like a 12-stringed guitar riff.
  12. Allen’s Wrench – I always think of this song when I’m putting together Ikea furniture.  “Allen’s wrench/That’s all you get”
  13. Mondo Generator – never even put together that this song was here, it’s the only Kyuss song credited solely to Nick Oliveri, and it’s the name of Oliveri’s post-Queens Of The Stone Age band.
  14. Yeah – just a guy saying yeah. it’s like four seconds long.

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