40 Watt Sun

Brandon Stosuy’s roundup of the best metal albums of 2011 alerted me to the London-based band 40 Watt Sun, now also one of my favorite discoveries of this year. Other reviewers were sharply divided on the record’s merits, something Stosuy acknowledges when he notes that the “sweeping hooks, painful, introspective lyrics, and [Patrick] Walker’s clear, soaring voice” are “elements that could be cheesy if not handled with such delicacy or well-earned confidence.” Four of the album’s five tracks stretch over nine minutes each, and their consistency means you’ll know very quickly know whether you’ll like the whole record. Imagine a British Eddie Vedder singing over the top of Jesu, or Isis covering Red House Painters, or a 45 RPM record by mid-1990s emo band Mineral played at 33 RPM. The songs are crunchy, drawn out, and so sluggish as to seem static—perfect for late-night cross-country drives, as I discovered last night. Find out more and listen to samples here.