Suns of Thyme – ‘Cascades’ album review

An eclectic but smooth blend of predominantly conceptual psychedelic rock, blues rock and alternative amongst others is what makes up the complex recipe to Suns of Thyme’s original sound.  The band are self-dubbed “krautgaze”, which I was not familiar with until I typed it into google translate and was incredibly amused to see the word “herbgaze” appear! After 2013’s debut ‘Fortune, Shelter, Love and Cure’ the Berlin band now bring their fourteen track sophomore record ‘Cascades’ to the table, and to call it dynamic is an understatement.

Suns of Thyme

Opener “Do Or Die” is carried by a shoegaze groove but holds dark undertones which distance vocalist Tobias Feltes’ distinct voice hauntingly. Personally, with a unique album such as this I believe the opening track itself will define whether you’re going to love it or loathe it. Said undertones follow into ‘Intuition Unbound’ which comes with simple but nifty percussive work and bursts of cleverly placed riffs, creating a flow to the track.

I’m always pleased to hear elements of The Cure whatever mood I’m in and “Ich Träum Von Dir” definitely evokes that. Reminiscent of Robert Smith’s encapsulating dark drone, Feltes’ vocals are certainly the defining factor of this tune. We’re taken back to this much later in the record too with ‘In Dreams Awake’, in which the instrumentation brings to mind the hit Cure track “Lovesong”.

Tracks like “Rush” bring the more blues-like feel into play and creates a very different, chilled feel with choppy guitars and warm but punchy drum work. “Deep Purple Rain” is similar in the relaxed feeling – a song you can just sit back and listen to without thinking about too much. “Val Verde” is poignant both in lyricism and in the repetitive guitar strums while “The Field” features soft, intricate traditional Indian style instrumentation throughout and is a seemingly out of place listen but admittedly displays the band’s wide range of musical abilities.

Ending calmly with the haunting harmonies of “Kirwani II” blended with softly plucked guitar which leaves you contemplating where Suns of Thyme could possibly go from here after packing a gazillion different genres and styles into one album.

Atmospheric and dynamic, Suns of Thyme have certainly earnt my respect for their braveness to experiment in their music and that’s what it’s all about. However, with all albums like this it’s difficult to see whether there will be more quality material on the way or if it will be much of the same stuff – but I’m looking forward to finding out!

Suns of Thyme Cascades
Cascades‘ track listing:

  1. Do Or Die
  2. Intuition Unbound
  3. Ich Traeum’ Von Dir
  4. To Vanish
  5. Rush
  6. Schweben
  7. Deep Purple Rain
  8. Val Verde
  9. The Field
  10. Aphelion
  11. Prelude
  12. In Dreams Awake
  13. Kirwani
  14. Kirwani II

Suns of Thyme lineup:
Tammo Dehn – Synths, Percussions, Sampler
Tobias Feltes – Vocals, Guitars, Sitar
Tim Hoppe – Guitars
Jascha Kreft – Drums, Vocals
Jens Rosenkranz – Bass

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