Out of the galaxy that is the Sunburned Hand of The Man discography, Pick a Day to Die may be the band’s brightest shining star yet.
Recorded mainly during sessions between 2007 and 2017, this album finds the legendary experimental collective demonstrating every strength in their arsenal. From space folk abstractions to kosmische biker freak outs, this is pure unadulterated Sunburned Hand.
Each song on this LP is a swampy dirge of churning, ever-mutating sound. Take for example, the Tago Mago-like “Initials.” This track features whimpering violins that hover wearily above bubbling electronics and a pulsing motorik beat, while eerie computerized voices babble through a fog of wobbly guitar. Meanwhile, tunes like the title song and “Solved,” feature growling stream of consciousness-like lyrics and hypnotic riffs that cut through pools of thick drones.
The muddy psychedelic atmosphere that can be felt throughout these songs is akin to sleep-deprived vision quests and peyote-fueled adventures across crowded urban landscapes. The sound is cluttered, somewhat dark and always madly unpredictable.
Yet that shadowy acid vibe comes to a head on the album’s closing track, “Prix Fixe.” Featuring J. Mascis on lead guitar, the song begins with pummeling jackhammer riffs, guttural hardcore screams and a scalding solo that eventually cools into a mournful cry. The aforementioned guitar solo leads the song into a mind-melting funeral march, complete with soaring keyboards and despondent wordless vocals. By the track’s end, it feels as though you have indeed picked your day to die. Part Hüsker Dü, part Eddie Hazel and part Endless Boogie, this is a lysergic storm for the ages.
For a stellar example of just how far out the fringes of free-form acid rock can go, and a taste of Sunburned Hand of The Man at their finest, order your copy of Pick a Day to Die from Three Lobed Records today.