Places Around The Sun – Places Around The Sun

Rating: 2/5
Distributor/label URL: n/a
Released: 2020
Buy Album [URL]: not available until Sept
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/placesaroundthesun/

Band Line-Up:
  • António Santos – vocals, guitar
  • João Gomes – guitar
  • Alexandre Sousa – bass
  • Ricardo Martins – drums
Tracklisting:

1 -Intro
2 – Lost I Am Found
3 – The Wanted One
4 – Bury It
5 – Chasing Tails
6 –  Embracer
7 – Down the Road
8 – Interlude
9 – Rising Sun
10 – Eight

Review:

Offering up their third full album, an eponymous edition, ‘Places Around The Sun’ are a heavy rock, alternative band with a strong Western influence. António Santos started out as a solo artist but evolved to lead this Portugese quartet from Lisbon, with João Gomes on guitars, Alexandre Sousa on bass and Ricardo Martins on drums.  Their first album appeared in 2016, ‘Still Here’ and was followed in 2018 by ‘Pluto’ which was recorded and produced by Santos and Gomes in their home studio.

‘Places Around The Sun’ was recorded at Poison Apple Studios, with Vítor Carraca Teixeira taking production credit, although still very much under a DIY ethos with no label involvement. The band has experimented with a style that they hope people will find more ‘danceable’, in truth people may draw comparisons in style with bands such as Muse. They have the same whine to the vocal and blandness that I associate with Muse at least.

Commencing with a short instrumental, ‘Intro’ with its wailing wind noise creates the image that sums this album up from the start, tumbleweed. Nothing exciting, just mundane, it leads us into ‘Lost I Am Found’, which has at least some energy but the tone of the vocals is off putting, somewhat like a Monday morning feeling, there is no hook either, so it is instantly forgettable. Next comes ‘The Wanted One’, which was equally uninspiring, other than a brief section where the bass really came to the fore, it didn’t deliver on the promise though.

Moving on to ‘Bury It’, the band certainly have a set style and sound, sometimes very dated and tired, the harmonies are the only things that lift it from being unlistenable. With a riff I have heard countless times before, ‘Chasing Tails’ is where I realise this whole album lacks emotion and passion, that is where is fails, because it makes it impossible to connect to the music or derive meaning from the lyrics. The main issue with the style of music and particularly the vocal, is it doesn’t sound like the band are enjoying themselves, ‘Embracer’ is therefore miserable, even the hand clapping comes over as lacking any vitality.

For a song entitled, ‘Down the Road’ it seems to go no-where, just wanders aimlessly before getting a bit lost in a repetitive loop of boredom, broken by a second instrumental segment, the pointless ‘Interlude’. Crashing in to the end, comes ‘Rising Sun’, breaking the flow and sounding just the same as all the rest, somewhat pedestrian and in need of a decent solo. Finally we reach song 10, named ‘Eight’, which in all honesty sounds similar to the other tracks, the drums are a bit plodding and mechanical, which detracts from the rest of the music. It winds down into the same wind sounds that opened the album, bringing us right back to that Tumbleweed.

Albums like this are really difficult to review, much is down to personal taste, and others will love it, just as some love The Beatles and Muse, but if you prefer exciting, imaginative music, then like me you will find this dull and dreary, which means it is hard to find things to say that will interest others. What you end up with is a chore, it was a chore to listen to this album, which puts it on a level with washing up, or taking out the bins, music is meant to be an escape from the chores, and thus this review was tedious to write too. That said, the music is competent, they are in tune and for something that must be self-financed, this is a professional sounding album, and after all some people like washing up.

Review by Lisa Nash
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