Sunwølf are an instrumental ambient/post rock 2 piece from that great breeding ground of UK talent that is Leeds. The band is made up of Dominic Deane on drums and organ and Matthew Carrington on guitar and also in charge of samples. Beyond the Sun is their debut album and it’s a rather delicate yet overbearing start to what might be an incredibly interesting career.
This is by no means a heavy album. Sunwølf are all about creating atmosphere and there’s a beautiful tension that runs throughout the entire work. The songs always sound like they are going to explode in a hailstorm of riffs but take a more delicate turn by simply maintaining a sombre and oppressive mood.
The instrumentation is extremely minimalist and used rather sparingly to achieve this. A smattering of jangly riffs here, a low-end rumble of bass drum there; it’s actually quite stunning how a 2 piece can hold your attention for so long and without using vocals.
What really makes Beyond the Sun something special is the variety on display. As we’ve already mentioned the drums are very minimalist and the guitar tone is usually quite clean, but there are also more distorted riff-driven numbers like Morose Land and the album’s title track. Time Stands Still also brings its’ own fascinating Ennio Morricone Western feel to the mix for another of the album’s stand-out moments.
The only weak moment on Beyond the Sun actually comes from its’ title track. While the awkward, fuzzy melody is certainly interesting and backed by a massive beat, it just doesn’t build the same atmosphere as the rest of the album which is a damn shame considering it’s the only moment that really does this.
Special mention has to be given to Ross Halden’s production which compliments the ambient nature of the whole piece and that’s exactly what Beyond the Sun feels like; a unified, singular piece of music. Not many bands can claim to have records that feels that way.
Beyond the Sun is a very special album. It creates a bleak yet beautiful atmosphere that will hold you in its’ grip for the full 27 minutes. A minor hiccup cannot ruin what is an essential record for fans of post rock and one of the best albums of the year.
Beyond the Sun by Sunwølf will be released on 26/11/2012 on CD and 12″ vinyl through Ark Noise Recordings