Canadian psych quartet Mother Sun recently announced a brand new LP entitled Train of Thought, due October 28 via Earth Libraries, as well as the band’s own small label, Kamloops BC-based Divine Bovine Records. Today, they have shared “Tangerine Beach,” the latest single off the record, in addition to the track’s accompanying music video.
Speaking on the track, the band wrote:
“‘Tangerine Beach’ and its video tell the story of a optimistic vacationer, played by Nathan, whose trip is thwarted by expectations of paradise. Arriving at at the beach, many margaritas in hand, Nathan loses a lens to the sunglasses shading him from the reality of his surroundings.”
Train of Thought, the third full length release by Mother Sun, is a 12 song day trip through an overstimulated frame of mind. Using 60’s and 70’s psych pop, garage rock, jazz and soul as a jumping off point, the band refines their modern eclectic storytelling through lush and adventurous arrangements, highlighted by abstract hooks, velvety strings and triumphant horns.
The record was recorded primarily live off the floor at Little Red Sounds Studio in Vancouver BC by producer Felix Fung. On the record, Mother Sun teamed up with a variety of musicians from their hometown of Kamloops BC, notably a string quartet from the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra. Horn arrangements written by two members of the band were performed by Vancouver based musicians Anita Eccleston and Mike WT Allen.
Fueled by a late-night haze of Lebanese flatbread, endless waves of black coffee, and Super Nintendo Excitebike, the latest LP from Canadian quartet Mother Sun appropriately fixates on a deliriously caffeinated tunnel of flashing lights, spicy flourishes, and good vibes. For Train of Thought (due 10/28/22 via Earth Libraries), the Kamloops, British Columbia four-piece expand on their sugar-rush compositions by tightening things up in the studio, channeling live energy through an intergalactic mesh of psychedelic rock, garage, pop, jazz, and more.
“Train of Thought captures the moment as it happened, as natural as possible,” explains drummer Jared Wilman. But judging from the way the ribbony loops of Alex Ward’s bass weave through the crystal shards of Jared Doherty’s and Emilio Pagnotta’s guitars, the in-the-room reality experienced by Mother Sun may be a bit more warped than average. “Posing a question, falling asleep/ Glued to a fish eye, blind in the ocean/ Water resistance, growing webbed feet,” Doherty sings on “Webbed Feet”, as a pulse of retro soundtrack horns and bombast drums propel his bleary-eyed vocals into an endless psychedelic expanse.
That track’s blend of riotous complexity and souped up devolution digs at the thesis of the album as it teeters at the edge. “It’s all about the way our thoughts control us and we control them,” Doherty says. “Being anxious about mind control, noticing your surroundings, caring for your mental health, being mindful of others, and not letting your train of thought run away due to complacency.”
Some tracks on Train of Thought date back years, some penned on Doherty’s lunch breaks from a sandwich shop job, while others were cooked up in the studio with Ward at a grand piano. Throughout, the group’s ability to turn on a dime unites the whole, as on “Orange Colossus” where Mother Sun skip-hop from garage rock jagged edges to swirling string arrangements and back again like Ty Segall sitting in with ELO, or King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard after downing a gallon of lemonade.
After working with Felix Fung at his Little Red Sounds on their debut, Caramel Clouds, Mother Sun returned to work with the Vancouver producer for Train of Thought. Fung and the quartet laid out all of their instrumentals over a span of five hyper-fueled days followed quickly by vocals and overdubs, but the shuffling, rippling energy of the album doesn’t show a hint of rush. The almost Strokes-y arcing vocals on “Tangerine Beach” carefully pull at the track’s inherent tension, even as the rhythm section chugs ever forward.
Formed in 2017, the band members’ experience collaborating with other bands and growing the indie scene in Kamloops continuously expands their musical world. Here, Mother Sun gain support via the Sycamore String Quartet and baritone guitar and added percussion from members of Vancouver outfit Wrecked Beach, bolstering their already heady blend. Even with those added layers, the feverish psychedelic arrangements never overpower the group’s innate ability to craft a memorable hook. Tracks like the glistening, propulsive “Cycling” benefit further from years of fine-tuning on the stage, the quartet nailing interlocking staccato riffs together only to crack them open and reveal a spiraling Tame Impala-esque galaxy at the core.
As the album cruises forward, Mother Sun drop little technicolor billboards along the path in the form of extended psychedelic outros and parenthetical interludes. These brief moments let the listener unpack the mental and psychological depths of tracks like “Memory Banker”, in which Doherty unravels the very idea of objectivity: “Memory banker/ My memory’s blank/ File corrupted/ Now my memory’s fucked.” And when Train of Thought eases into its final station, it’s with the new understanding that the universe around is being built and unbuilt at all times. “All thoughts shift or gain a new edge and perspective from day to day, and the album will live and grow through that process,” Doherty says.