Release Date: Jun 25, 2013
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Rock, Experimental Rock
For a debut album, especially one of hard, bluesy, esoteric rock, The Sun Dogs is damn good. Rose Windows possess a true and immense rock power—probably the sole criterion for that appellation. One can’t help, however, but feel a bit tired by the ways Rose Windows seem to fit a certain mold: witchy lead singer, Native American flute, Black Sabbath influence.
In nature, a sun dog is an atmospheric illusion; a trick of the light that makes it appear as though there's more than one sun in the sky. It's nature messing with us to alter our perceptions, which makes it a natural title for Rose Windows debut outing. The Sun Dogs is an album that's all about constantly shifting your perceptions, appearing to be a sprawling post-rock album one moment, then a bluesy doom record, then a pastoral folk record, and so on, making each change gradually enough that it feels like whatever sound it's settled on is the one it's been doing all along.
Chris Cheveyo (lead composer behind Seattle, WA septet Rose Windows) is evidently a man who wholeheartedly believes there's still much ground to be broken in the musical world. On debut album The Sun Dogs, Rose Windows' eclectic mix of sounds and varied instrumentation is unable to be pinned down to any particular genre — their Facebook page describes them simply as "insufferable psychedelic garbage." Some acts these days flirt with some form of chic psychedelia, but Rose Windows fully embrace the aesthetic on tracks like "Walkin With a Woman," which sounds something like the Doors at their darkest. Yet "psychedelic" is somehow both too broad and too simple a term to define The Sun Dogs.
The Seattle collective Rose Windows throws back to days when the hippie trail led east and mysticism became entwined with the natural order of things. That said, the septet’s sprawling debut, The Sun Dogs, shares affinity with both past and present. It borrows from its forebearers with echoes of late ’60s/early ’70s psychedelia, pastoral folk, and heavy rock.
Seattle’s Rose Windows describe themselves as “hard hitting hippies” on their Facebook page, and they mean it, especially the hippie part. The seven-piece band unapologetically strip-mines the rock music of the ’60s and ‘70s for its sound, but it doesn’t settle for the garage-rock riffs that have been resurrected by countless indie acts in recent years. Instead, Rose Windows goes for weirder stuff: the swirling organ of the Doors, the sinister blues guitar of Black Sabbath, the orchestral theatricality of prog-leaning bands like Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues.
In a television interview she gave in the mid-90s, Grace Slick, once of Jefferson Airplane, explained her vocal style by saying, "I have a very limited range. I can yell very high, but try to sing a lullaby, I can't do it. But I could blow your camera out and do it loud. What kind of voice is that? It's perfect for rock and roll but it's limited".