Taken as a whole, Rose Window’s debut, The Sun Dogs, is a thirsty trek through the desert with several hallucinogenic reactions along the way.
Sub Pop, 2013
7.4 / 10
I always appreciate a band that takes an experimental approach to their music rather than following formula. I’m not saying that doing one over the other always leads to a positive result, but when the effort is made to strive for innovation or just something not currently rotating in the stratosphere of modern music, I will pay closer attention. I might even perk an ear…or both. For their debut album, The Sun Dogs, the Seattle-based seven-piece Rose Windows are shooting for an extraordinary result. Songwriter/lead guitarist Chris Cheveyo’s creative thirst led to him seeking out producer Randall Dunn, who previously worked with SunnO))) and Boris and shared Cheveyo’s musical ambition. Dunn and RoseWindows have crafted a lavish debut, one that parallels the modern work of The Besnard Lakes.
Cheveyo’s interest in fighting against the norm came about from his own creative limitations while writing music for his past post-rock project. Once he decided he could take no more, his exploratory nature had him delving into Brit rock, psychedelia, folk music, and international flavors taken from Persian, Indian, and Eastern European cultures. During his musical rejuvenation, he picked up other like-minded members, including vocalist Rabia Shaheen Qazi, his roommate David Davila (piano/drums), former bandmates Nils Petersen and Pat Schowe (guitar and drums respectively) and frequent houseguests Richie Rekow and Veronica Dye (bass and flute respectively). Balancing all of the talent combined has led to an album of diverse output, not strictly confined to one genre; though, an apt classification would be progressive rock.
Whereas “Native Dreams” will wallop listeners with behemoth guitar riffs and show-stealing flute playing (how often does the flute steal the show?), the following song, “Heavenly Days” will mesmerize listeners with its mystical folk — the band seemingly transformed after swigs of hippie juice or a mass consumption of shrooms. Their spirit of free will takes them another direction on “Walkin’ with a Woman”, a snarling bluesy nod to ‘70s rock gods Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin (a more modern reference would be Black Mountain’s album, Wilderness Heart).
Thematically, The Sun Dogs, in Cheveyo’s words, is about “the everyday blues that capitalism and its hit man, religion, bring on all of us.” Lyrically, there’s talk about spirits, religious deities and supernatural elements abound, which is somewhat expected with the band’s otherworldly arrangements — did I mention that the flute is particularly enchanting? Taken as a whole, The Sun Dogs is a thirsty trek through the desert with several hallucinogenic reactions along the way. The only issue with explorative music like this is that it asks listeners to embark on an endless excavation. Many party members will be lost during the journey, but those that can hang on will find something special.
Purchase: Rose Windows – The Sun Dogs