To clarify: this is not an album revering the resurging notions once posited by numerous ancient cultures. Furthermore, if you intend to look into this band further, I advise you to use the links above, or at least add the word ‘band’ after ‘suncraft’ in your search engine of choice. Otherwise, you’ll find no trace of the fuzzy, Oslo-based rockers anywhere on the first page of results, as they are buried beneath countless similarly named entities: from Japanese kitchen utensils to suppliers of Naval vessels designed for fast patrol and interception. Exciting stuff.
Fortunately, the Suncraft in question today are equally capable of providing variety and frenzied grooves that pursue your attention. Since 2017, the group have honed their charmingly riffed-up blend of stoner rock across Norway, and one 2019 EP later, Suncraft find themselves back with a full-length: Flat Earth Rider. Before you even inhale any of the LP itself, you know you’re safely in the hazier realms of rock with a glimpse at that vibrantly lucid artwork and some equally creative song titles. A record that appears to promise colour and character, despite a lyrical focus on themes such as spirituality, greed, and loneliness; but just how well does that intention hold up?
Very well, as it happens. Believe me, a lot is crammed into 35 minutes here, as the instrumentation sprawls out across multiple musical stylings throughout the six songs present. The spirit of classic rock is combined with flourishes of the underground scene Suncraft have thus far inhabited, and is manifested in riffs designed to subdue you (voluntarily or otherwise). These rhythmic surges pummel alongside relentless kit work; I also appreciate that the bass is particularly prevalent – not just in the songwriting, but also in the record’s final mix, so a tip of the hat to Ruben Willem there.
“Flat Earth Rider” (which I felt obliged to pinpoint at the start) opens proceedings with a fictional account of a search for answers by a subscriber to said theory, explored in a somewhat melancholic, somewhat humorous manner. While the lyrical focus is debatably not to be taken seriously, the immediate impact of the music certainly is. In addition to the elements listed above, you’ll come across soaring vocals and playful lead guitars that relish every opportunity to be unleashed on your ears; far from the last time they’ll do so, either.
Once we transition beyond the thundering title track, the stage is set to welcome “Space Buddha” with its galloping fanfare bursting with vocal harmonies, jazzy fretwork, and a chorus that goes hard with stoner-infused heft. “Lingo Hive Mind” observes the same swagger stroll in and kick its boots off (after a swift kick to your teeth), and the vocals once again meld beautifully with rampant riffery and loose-cannon lead guitar to offer more memorable bites of Suncraft’s impressive debut, before bowing out in tremendously rambunctious fashion.
Then, a darkness envelopes the hazy vista we were taking in and a downpour of doom arrives on “Commie Cannibals”: pacy enough to stoke the flames in the verses, but evil and smouldering in its chorus shouts of ‘I’m getting hungry for flesh’. It even tosses in slightly poppy bridge vocals and a solo that’s tastier than the track’s titular choice of dish. The anthemic “Adaptation” continues the experimentation between genres, offering spacey, psych vibes that sound both futuristic and retro all at once. It’s expansive, lost amidst the cosmos, and keeps you afloat there while more fuzzy fret prowess is dispersed into the ether.
Now, you may feel a little overwhelmed or adrift, what with all the musical exploration of styles we’ve undertaken these past 25 minutes. That’s okay, but prepare for “Bridges To Nowhere” – an epic finale that saunters in to grasp your undivided attention for a full ten minutes. Normally, I would struggle to engage with such a lengthy track, but there’s easily enough variation within this single song to hold you, between throaty melodies, weighty rock backbone, and even some blast beats thrown in for good measure. Incredible performances on an incredible closing track.
Despite their limited online presence, you get a lot for your money and/or time with Flat Earth Rider. Suncraft have put together a belter of an album, particularly considering this is their first full-length. It’s a damn good outing, colossal in character, and with many corners of the world beginning to open up and live music starting to properly gather momentum once again, you owe it to yourself – whether via speaker or stage – to indulge in this fuzzy, furious slab of a record.