Agitated Atmosphere: United Waters - Sunburner

Agitated Atmosphere, Album Reviews
09/12/2014
Justin Spicer

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such asUnited Waters.

Funny how things tend to befittingly name themselves.United Waters, the latest project from Brian Sullivan (Mouthus) is a retention pond of streams, rain, and sewage runoff coalescing in some forgotten submerged suburb. Sullivan’s always toyed with the conventional aspect of melodic rock and roll output, but often the filter has been to degrade the recognizable for the perverted.

Though as perverse in many aspects as the nastiest Mouthus moments, United Waters tries to drown traditional rock values rather than scar them. It’s a different type of inferred violence but far catchier in its own warped sense of morality. The drums are sinister heart beats from underneath a half-frozen earth; the roundabout guitar riffs an eerie echo from the cold overgrowth. Sullivan’s own voice is ghostly, bubbling up from the pool. It burps and belches words and melody, easy to hear but difficult to decipher.

Which is why you’ll find yourself starring at your gnarled reflection time and time again. Sunburner is an album of sloth, the hard swim among the pollutants that have mutated guitar-based rock for decades. You’ll find your guard slowly dissipating and before the cold water takes your breath, you’ll find yourself underneath and deaf to the world you once knew. You created this mess, now you must live in it.

Justin Spicer is a freelance editor and journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. You can also find him on Twitter.

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