40 Watt Sun - Perfect Light

40 Watt Sun – Perfect Light

Release date: 21 January 2022   
Label: Svart Records  

Intro

40 Watt Sun, brainchild of UK-based Patrick Walker, creates lengthy tracks dripping in melancholy and oozing sludge. The project can best be described as atmospheric doom, lying in a place between black doom legends Woods of Ypres and stoner giants Yob. Slow and swaying guitar riffs creep the average track length well over the eight- or nine-minute mark. Meanwhile, Walker’s nasally bleating forms a comfortable cushion to rest your ear on for a while. This combination makes a sound that almost feels like taking Pearl Jam or Dave Matthews Band and stretching their songs out to their limit while adding a touch of fuzz.

Like the music itself, 40 Watt Sun as a band is very slow-going. Walker initiated the project in 2009 after the disbandment of previous doom band Warning. It wouldn’t be until 2011 that Walker released The Inside Room EP and it would be another five years before Wider than the Sky (2016) dropped. Both of these albums enlisted a full band behind Walker, most notably drummer Andrew Prestidge who was also in Warning with Walker. In order to fulfill his vision for a new album, Walker cast off the traditional band format. Instead, he enlisted the help of a variety of musicians to play individual parts and songs across the album. With everyone’s work combined for a year’s worth of recording, 40 Watt Sun has now released the weighty and pensive album Perfect Light.

The Album

The album opens with Reveal, a mostly empty track with a focus on Walker’s vocals and a mild uncertain acoustic guitar. Slow and pensive as usual, it eventually builds with stronger strums of the guitar, becoming a confident and tender statement. After this, Behind My Eyes starts with a lightly echoing drumbeat and a peaceful guitar. It’s hard not to rock back and forth to this melody, a wholesome feeling washing over the listener as they know that everything will be alright.

Until has a bolder start, played in a peculiar key that is somewhat dark and offputting. Walker’s vocals are stronger on this track, as if he is competing with the instruments behind him to be heard. There is a sense of heaviness here, as if it was a sad story being told from the heart. This track bleeds into the next, Colours, which is very short comparatively and has much less complexities in its composition. While the previous feels like processing grief from losing someone, this track feels more like acceptance and the will to carry on.

The halfway point is The Spaces in Between, a slightly fuzzy coffee shop- and jazz-influenced beat carried by sparse piano notes. Walker’s vocals are in top form on this one, reeling in the listener and softly asking them to stay a while. A nice cooldown from the powerful feelings of the previous is Raise Me Up, which relies on a simple and persistent guitar that evokes images of a desert sunset. While very emotional, Walker’s vocals are a bit overbearing here, the pitch hard to follow. This makes the guitar and drums the star of this track, dark and deep and lingering.

A Thousand Miles has more of that fuzzy jazzy beat with an acoustic recorded so closely that you can hear the fingers slide along it between chords. This is one of the most relaxing tracks on the album as no one part takes over the rest. The guitar, drums, vocals, and the comforting hum all work together to bring a simple peace. The album fittingly ends with Closure, a track that feels like the successor to Colours. The emotional cycle has completed itself through the storytelling of a soft guitar and a softer voice.

A Final Word

40 Watt Sun is more than just easy listening. Beneath the gentle guitar and simple drums are lyrics wracked with uncertainty and pain. Patrick Walker has created a beautiful story from top to bottom that insists for you to listen again to fully comprehend what he is trying to say. Walker’s music is good for putting on in the background while reading, doing the daily commute, or to fall asleep to. But, 40 Watt Sun is not made to fill the silence. Rather, it is for enjoying the silence and reflecting on what was and what could have been.

 

Line up:
  • Patrick Walker (he/him) – Vocals, guitars, and all instrumentation
  • Roland Scriver (he/him) – Guitar
  • Lorraine Rath (she/her) – Bass
  • Ajit Gill (he/him) – Drums
  • Andrew Prestidge (he/him) – Drums
  • Chris Redman (he/him) – Piano

Tracklist

  1. Reveal
  2. Behind My Eyes
  3. Until
  4. Colours
  5. The Spaces in Between
  6. Raise Me Up
  7. A Thousand Miles
  8. Closure

Links:

Bandcamp
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