Sunday January 21st 2018

Sunshine Ward – “Order 12″ EP”


Sunshine Ward – “Order 12″ EP”


“Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry. Sunshine on the water looks so lovely. Sunshine almost all the time makes me high,”- John Denver (famous seventies death metal singer/songwriter.)

It’s lyrics like this that inspired Slayer to rain down blood, not sunshine, on our eyes and our ears. And while, good ol’ John was getting high on sunshine and whatever ever else he was taking and flying his fucking plane high in the sky- he crashed and died.

A few years later, so did Jim Croce, another one of those maudlin, hippy-dippy, soft rock seventies singers who made us suck pabulum driven nursery rhymes until we thought the vomit would explode out of our ears- and to my mind, inspired punk and metal, more than good ol’ Iggy and good ol’ Ozzy did. Because we were so goddamn bored out of our minds.

My teenage years instead of being filled with sexual fantasies of how I would defile the stars of Charlie’s Angels, were filled with what I could do with a chainsaw inside a locked room with the defenseless soft-rock singer songwriters of the time.

Which, of course, bring us to the country rock/soft pop stars of Sunshine Ward.

I’ve never seen this band nor have they seen John Denver. That being noted, they are actually, a punk, hardcore, d-beat band from Boston who I stumbled upon and became impressed with their music. How they mix old-school hardcore with modern day punk, d-beat and crust.

Their music kind of ripped the top of my skull off making me write the lines previously, let’s hear if it has the same affect on you:

After four hard hits from the drummer, the shouting death/hardcore vocals of “Order” barges in. “Order. Order. They crave fucking order. Put you out as soon as they can…They hide behind order, accuse you of breaking their mold…shut up and do what you’re told.” The rhythm is energy fueled and moderate but the venom and aggression is at full force. There’s a screaming guitar solo that echoes Johnny Thunders followed by a thundering, bone-rattling bass break. A rousing chorus of relentless passion creates a mad mash up of punk and hardcore and in the final analysis, a great tune. My favorite song on the EP.

With an echo-y, but aggressive bass and drums intro, “Mind Control,” sets a mood for something explosive to happen. Soon a bashing, abrasive hardcore romp erupts. “See the screen, staring your down…The process starts, all lives on the line.” A great hard hitting, punchy accent part arrives increasing the intensity. Some high pitched guitar screams come in, urging the rhythm section to flail even harder. Towards the end of this great song the drummer pushes it even harder making the blood vessels on our necks explode.

“Radioactive Chunks” starts with hyperactive guitars and harsh vocals spewing out- “It happens again, sky on fire, children scream, your homeland ends.” This song is like one burning ember that creates a fire and eventually, burns the whole town down. There’s an escalating, guitar solo that takes us to the exciting mental breakdown of a screaming chorus- “City burns, you’re the fuel.” An infectious, deadly number.

With some pounding drumbeats and ominous, guitar chords crashing like lightening cracking the sky, “Out In The Streets,” ignites into a hardcore stampede. “Human freedoms starting to crack, myths fall in place of facts. Powerful men know what’s at stake. Stop at nothing to break your back.” Though one of the more typical hardcore songs on the album, it’s still passionately potent and hard and true.

After one catastrophic chord, “No Concern,” comes charging in like the vice squad staging a raid, knocking tables, people and eardrums over, left and right. Some buzzing, snarling guitars fame lyrics like- “A city in ruins, a government choice, to leave us all stranded…no hope for the masses, left to face their own mess.” Then the noise all grinds to a halt and proclaims in an exciting, desperate moment- “No concern.” When this great song ends you feel as if you’ve been hit with a sledgehammer of pure sound and fury.

To my mind and ears Sunshine Ward create traditional hardcore that is fresh and relevant and great.

It’s exciting, fun music with honest, hard-hitting social commentary that takes a lot of influence from early hardcore and punk.

But this band is anything but a throwback, or even a John Denver tribute band.

I take this band as one that takes it’s terrific influences and creates a sound that is not only their own but unique to today.

But hell! They don’t even have a facebook page! Who knows if they’ll ever read what I say about them.

But you have and I urge you to check them out.

That is- if you know what’s good for you.


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