Slow Down Molasses – 100% Sunshine (Noyes Records)

Canadian psych/shoegaze band bloom on third LP

Released Sep 2nd, 2016 via Noyes Records / By Richard Lewis
Slow Down Molasses – 100% Sunshine (Noyes Records) Established almost a decade ago, Canadian alt. rock/shoegaze types Slow Down Molasses trade in a tough, melodic strain of psychedelia reminiscent of the guitar-heavy clamour of Swervedriver, Dinosaur Jr and Hüsker Dü’s more expansive moments.

Centred around singer/guitarist Tyson McShane, 100% Sunshine is the band’s first LP with a fixed band line up with the musicians who toured previous album Bunrt Black Cars (2015) remaining on board for the present disc. Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the open expanses of the Canadian prairies are reflected in the group's widescreen approach, while the none-more-black cover underlines the doubt and uncertainty that exists at the core of many of SDMs songs.

Opening with curtain raising instrumental Faeries on High, the straight-ahead post-punk blast of New Release follows next, blazing along like an especially taut early Editors track. Excellent lead single Moon Queen possesses the same steely drive as Dinosaur Jr, its rambunctious guitar work offset with McShane’s J. Mascis-like vocal. Similarly, the pulsatant Levitation Sickness switches between stretches of calm and the cymbal thrashing energy of prime era Ride.

In marked contrast No Riots, possibly a reference to fellow countrymen GYBE’s Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada, is a post-rock slab of delay pedal guitar figures overlaid with an almost spoken word vocal and insistent, jabbing bassline. Wonderfully titled instrumental Terminator iii Vs Amon Duul ii, (underwhelming sequel meets groundbreaking Krautrock band) is an echoing piano-led instrumental, both cuts highlighting the LPs provenance in being mixed by Mogwai associate Tony Doogan.

The stormy Ghosts & Vodka shares the desperate passion of Disintegration-era Cure, the sampled synth textures that emerge midway through genuinely disorientating on headphones, before crashing back into the song’s central riff. Dovetailing nicely with this is Night Terrors, which contrasts its bleak title with the star-gazing psychedelia of Smashing Pumpkins. Flowers, evoking Slowdive in the male/female vocal interplay between McShane and keyboardist/vocalist Jeanette Stewart is a glorious slowburn of a track, followed by slightly superfluous six-minute closer You Made Me A Ghost, a would-be epic that doesn’t quite take off in the manner intended.

While Slow Down Molasses influences’ possibly shine through a tad too strongly at times, McShane’s songwriting ability is clearly in evidence throughout and 100% Sunshine is ample evidence of a band coming into full bloom in highly impressive form.