Sullivan Smith & Stray Lions – Stone Tower
Lo-fi Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop
You’ll know in how nice a country you live in by how likely it is that the government will be aggressive in their pursuit to grab your land if needed. While in some places, it’s likely that they will be polite about it, or even see land as a common resource, in most other places you’re likely to get run over, sued, or even get to disappear mysteriously.
Whatever you do, mind the old-timer that has been working their entire life for a paycheck and is now declaring their intention to leave in seclusion by laws that only themselves and the Almighty can understand. There aren’t a lot of people with less to lose and nobody towards which they need to answer.
Sullivan Smith & Stray Lions tell just such a story on their folk-rock single Stone Tower. In their ode to the pursuit of freedom and how that’s likely to get you murdered, they spin the tale of a man determined to build his own Tower of Babel on top of a hill. Naturally, airport officials didn’t take kindly to this and took legal action against the self-made mason.
Stone Tower does feel the soundtrack to building a silver tower while being pummelled by the rain for endless periods. It’s all a gorgeous effort, but a rather meaningless one.
Sullivan Smith & Stray Lions, invariably, construct something of an existentialist anthem, the kind that Franz Kafka might have considered for the score of a movie dedicated to his time in the old lawyer’s office. This is high brow, well-executed, desperate kind of work.
Greenland – Back to the Universe
Genre: Art Rock, 90s Rock, Lo-fi Rock
Genesis are touring. Which is lovely. It’s not a sentiment that old prog-rock fans share. Most of them aren’t moved by a show that includes non-stop hits. It’s prog-rock concept pieces that run for two hours or bust.
Of course, prog’s dirty little secret is that, unlike other genres that eventually fizzled out, most famous musicians of the 70s simply moved on to making pop songs. The majority of them even had a lot of success with this. There’s cynicism in that, perhaps, but, make no mistake, the success was a by-product of the fact that these art-rockers could really play, write, and arrange.
And, here we come to the ambitious folks in Greenland. Back to the Universe sounds like the result of an argument between members of Genesis on whether they should write a pop single, or a prog-rock juggernaut. In the end, they split the difference. The sound is otherworldly and only brought down by the singing that may be a little rough in places, but certainly gives it a well-needed human touch. Here’s to prog-rockers enjoying chart life on the pop charts.