Review: Sunn Trio – Fayrus (Unsound, Nov 2)

Sunn Trio further explores and refines their unique brand of Arabian-informed raw drone-rock on Fayrus, their second studio album after last year’s self-titled LP. Looking at the liner notes, I can’t help be reminded of the hilariously overstated credits included with Sun City Girls’ Torch of the Mystics, which included, among other things, ‘algebraic percussion,’ ‘ambient and terminally fatal ear poison,’ ‘blood of the moon lute,’ and ‘forward subliminal messages.’ The influence of the Girls on Sunn Trio’s distinct style is undeniable, but as far as I could tell every instrument listed was used on this ceaselessly eclectic record, from gongs and tamburas to shortwave radios and Gameboys. “Shayatin” and “Al-Rijal Al-Khafiya” start things off with a fiery bang, threading hypnotic harmonic minor unison riffs into fluid drumming that seems half rhythmic and half freely improvised. The next two tracks venture into some darker, electronics-heavy soundscapes, which only makes the furious loose grooves of Al-Ghayb even more incendiary. As if Fayrus wasn’t diverse enough already, “Mukhbir” takes us into swinging bebop territory, with saxophone solos and walking bass gradually being drowned out by radio interference and dissonance. At every instant on this album, every performer seems perfectly in sync with and aware of each other, no matter how disparate their playing is, and it’s this unity that keeps the ecstatically overstuffed LP from falling apart at the seams.

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