Places Around the Sun – Places Around the Sun

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Self-released
Released: 2020
Buy Album: https://placesaroundthesun.bandcamp.com
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:

Places Around the Sun are a Portuguese heavy rock band who will be releasing their third full-length album on 25th September 2020. It comes after 2016’s ‘Still Here’ and 2018’s ‘Pluto’. It is their most personal album to date, which is the reason it is self-titled. Its sound is Western-tinged and is a progression of their musical mission. 

Whilst the tone throughout much of the album is fairly consistent and brings to mind rock acts such as Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age, ‘Bury It’ has a mid section that goes into metal territory. The build up to it is perfectly fine, but the way it stops and goes back to typical rock is pretty rushed and it doesn’t sound completely natural. ‘Chasing Tails’ has a bit a grungy vibe, bringing to mind Alice In Chains, yet the influences are taken in such a controlled way, it doesn’t make the song stick out like a sore thumb. ‘Rising Sun’ even has some ever so slightly jazzy, rock soloing that is pretty tasteful.

From the album’s start to finish the vocal melodies are very strong. Indeed, the songwriting on the whole is very well done. A lot of the riffs are a little similar to each other but as the singer is the musician who is most focused on, that’s not as big a problem as it could have been. Slightly unusual syncopated rhythms often up the interest and the chord progressions frequently have a nice bit of colour to them. As not all the guitar parts are heavily distorted, that allows for some more sophistication. You don’t want to add heavy distortion to full, non-power chords unless you’re in a black metal band!

In conclusion, this stuff isn’t the most original in the world, but if you’re looking for tuneful songs with a hard edge, you won’t be disappointed. It may have been nice if there was some more light genre fusing for the sake of variety, but others I’m sure would feel that would take some of the fun out of the release. Not everyone wants to go on a short musical adventure. This album is strongly recommended if you miss the indie rock sound of the mid 2000s. 

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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