Saturday, August 20, 2011

Merge Records Preserves The Volcano Suns

Merge Records has taken under it's wing the noble project of reissuing and re-releasing the first two Volcano Suns records. Remastered and featuring tons of bonus tracks, the reissues of The Bright Orange Years and All-Night Lotus Party are a labor of love that will keep fans of the legendary band drooling at the complete overhaul that the label has given each of the releases. Either of the two records are fantastic works and with the albums clocking in at over 20 songs it's pretty much essential that you own these.

The two albums, The Bright Orange Years and All-Night Lotus Party are quite different records. TBOY is a spastic, jerky record packed with enthusiasm that only a college rock band trapped in the middle of the 80's could record. Fueled by a sense of rebellion and raw untapped energy the songs on TBOY are a rambunctious journey from one chaotic experience to the next. The result is a crazy rock n' roll record that while sounding a bit disorganized and uncontrolled is a lot of fun. Check out the hilariously titled, "Truth Is Stranger Than Fishing," for a ramshackle instrumental jam, or "Descent Into Hell," for a spiky, fragmentary blast of the Suns at their best. The remastered version of this album takes the original twelve tracks, remasters them and then slathers them in nine rarities and live tracks making the disc an epic marathon of disordered enjoyment.

TBOY, was followed up with 1986's All-Night Lotus Party.  The band picked up where they left off with TBOY, threw all that work against a wall, roughed it up and then recorded something grittier and slightly less tuneful. ANLP is still one heck of a record though and it shows the band embracing the chaos that surrounds them a bit more and making a noisier and spikier record as a result. Sounding a bit like a long lost Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper record (anyone remember them???) the record is humorous at times and even gets a bit rockabilly when need-be. "Cans," is a perfect example of their growing sound as it yells, screams, jumps around, bashes itself and sounds like a hoedown out of control. This is a brazen record that blasts through song after song in a disheveled blaze of anarchy. Like the remastered version on TBOY, All-Night Lotus Party features a whole host (10 tracks) of rarities, outtakes, and live tunes that give a complete portrait of the Volcano Suns in 1986.

Merge has truly outdone themselves here. Both The Bright Orange Years and All-Night Lotus Party are extremely well put together re-releases that preserves two valuable records from falling into indie rock obscurity. These records are both highly recommended even if you already own these two discs; the bonus tracks are worth the price of the re-releases alone.

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