Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor’s (Sean Morrow – guitars and lead vocals, Eric Oppitz – bass and keyboards, Rick Sawoscinski – drums) Desert Brain is the first album from the Detroit psychedelic trio that is one flowing piece of art instead of an album of individual tracks that stand apart from each other.
“We’ve always wanted to make an album that was one continuous flow,” Oppitz told me when I saw SOYSV in October 2015. “We felt like we had the clout to do it after the first two records.”
He’s right. Desert Brain is a fine piece of work that reminds me of early Pink Floyd records that were part-rock albums, part-metaphysical journeys. “Seventh Scene” opens the album with a spacey feel SOYSV do better than most. It flows into the organ-heavy “Major Medicine,” which has become one of their wildest cuts at live shows because it dissolves / evolves into the mind-bending chaos of “What’s Your Cloud nine, 37?” and “Magic Mother’s Tongue / A Little Jaunt into the Light.” “Little” is an understatement, considering this “jaunt” is full of Morrow’s wall-flattening guitar, Oppitz’s thudding bass, and Sawoscinski’s Detroit auto factory-precision power drumming before it becomes something you might hear in a giallo movie by the end.
There’s a brief break of silence before “Girl of a Thousand Voices” when you flip over the vinyl and start the second leg of the journey. It’s a lovely track with distorted vocals and more of those guitar riffs that Morrow seems to pull out of dreams or mystic rituals, whereas the frightening follow-up, “The Prettiest Sounds of Purgatory,” sounds like something out of a Lovecraft story.
“Long Lovers Sun” shows the band’s Doors influences with jangly guitar, ethereal synths, and cryptic vocals about a beautiful woman. The title track showcases Sawoscinski’s drumming as he lays down beats fit for Apache warriors charging on horseback and then switches to near silence just before the song almost spins out of control and drops into “Like a Forest Runs” – a near-shoegaze cut that would be great for walks through bleak Detroit streets or while gazing across a frozen lake with your “Highly Enchanting Eyes.” This last track is something you might hear on a Captain Beefheart record – guitars and synths that mesh so well that they’re often difficult to tell apart, drums that sneak up on you, and slightly skewed vocals that intrigue you almost to the point of giving you the creeps.
I’m a big fan of SOYSV, so it’s no surprise I love this record. It’s a great move for the band as they get weird and pull us down the rabbit hole with them. They are on the verge of being one of the “Next Big Things,” so don’t miss any chance you get to see them. They’re also good chaps, so give them your support.
Keep your mind open.