40 WATT SUN – The Inside Room

reviewed by Thomas Pizzola | Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Patrick Walker and his doom band Warning — which he had started when he was 16 — seemed to hit a high point with their last CD Watching From A Distance, garnering the type of praise that any band would kill for. However, instead of continuing on with that project, he folded the band in 2008 and formed this new project shortly thereafter. While he still plays with the slow tempos and heavy down-turned chords of his last band, 40 Watt Sun features a more concentrated effort on songwriting than just riff-crafting, and the result is one of the better heavy records of the past year.

Calling this “doom-pop” wouldn’t be too much of stretch, because though the songs go by at a slow pace, the hooks slowly and surely worm their way into your consciousness. Just give a few listens and soon you’ll be singing certain snatches of lyrics in your head while you go about your day. Let me be clear: this isn’t a sunny pop record. Walker’s riffs are heavy and fuzzed-out, and the songs deal with all sorts of human emotions like love, longing, and loss. But instead of bumming you out, the songs have a triumphant air to them, as if Walker is baring his soul and getting these things off his back. But the subject matter is relatable to any one who has ever been in love. And even though this is an emotional record, it is in no way whiny, but rather the result oft one guy letting it all hang out.

He wouldn’t be able to do it without the deft rhythm work of bassist William Spong and drummer Christian Leitch, whose powerful playing helps give the songs a solid foundation for Walker’s singing and guitar playing.

So give kudos to Metal Blade for picking up and distributing this wonderful album in the United States. Also, East Coast dates have been confirmed for the band, so here is a chance to catch them on their inaugural US tour. Don’t sleep on the record or the tour, because believe me, you are going to want to check them both out.

(Metal Blade Records, 5737 Kanan Road #143, Agoura Hills, CA 91301)