It seems wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen is quietly earning a name for Rock bands in recent years, with retro Psych trio The Sonic Dawn gaining a particularly favourable reputation. Eclipse (Heavy Psych Sounds) is the band’s third full-length release in four years and, despite being influenced by undisclosed personal tragedy, the sound is as bright as ever.
With only one track of the thirteen on offer exceeding four minutes in length, it’s also an album that doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. Opener ‘Forever 1969’ is a stripped-down Blues Rock gambol reminiscent of Cream, a gentle sojourn through jangling chords and scents of patchouli. The ensuing ‘Psychedelic Ranger’ is slightly more driven yet just as relaxed, Emil Bureau’s vocal easy and effortless, the oscillating effects lovingly dated by a warm, fuzzy production. ‘The Stranger’ meanwhile, evokes Jefferson Airplane’s more mellifluous moments with Bureau a vocal ringer for Marty Balin.
This opening salvo displays the delight of The Sonic Dawn: the ability to craft primitive, melodic Rock with a subtle urgency and wonderfully accomplished instrumentation. The brief flurries of lead and organ in ‘No Chaser’ nevertheless prove to be the meat on the track’s bones, and those melodies provide the backbone for the delicate Americana of ‘Opening Night’.
While ‘Circle Of Things’ is more rhythm-based, the lovely ebb and flow adds an early Folk Rock feel which proves irresistible. ‘On The Edge Of Our Time’ brings forth The Doors’ bewitching desert dalliances, even down to a Manzarek-like closing organ solo which is underpinned by Jonas Waaben’s deft but dictatorial drums.
The leadwork of the sparkling ‘Christiania’ briefly displays a desire to rock out before lulling the listener back to their hypnotised stupor, while the Hippy wig-outs of ‘The Last Page’ and ‘Love Bird’ are delivered with a lightness of air reminiscent of Love’s sunny yet meaningful effervescence. There’s a cosmic feel to the acid trip of ‘To Change Who We Are’, while the penultimate ‘Islands In Time’ skilfully displays more of a brooding edge whilst maintaining that upbeat template.
Closer ‘Towards The End’ is a comparative epic at over five minutes long, a much lazier, melancholic slide with some gorgeous, evocative swells. It’s the embodiment of this utterly lovely album: a wistful look to a glorious past while wrapped in the warm, patched-up blanket of the present. Were we indeed living in forever 1969 Eclipse would surely rank as a classic along the lines of Surrealistic Pillow or the eponymous debut album by Crosby Stills And Nash. Today’s world will undoubtedly pay it less homage but for those of us who revel in returning to the odd blast of those bygone years, this is a damn fine album.