March 22, 2019 Red Sun Rising – Peel (EP Review)
When some bands would be resting on their laurels and riding out the press and tour waves in the year after a successful sophomore album release, Red Sun Rising (RSR) decided they weren’t done yet. Originating from Akron, Ohio, RSR saw significant success following the release of their second studio album, Thread, in 2018.
The band, comprised of Mike Protich (vocals, guitar), Ryan Williams (guitar), Ricky Miller (bass, vocals), Dave McGarry (guitar, vocals), and Pat Gerasia (drums), has chosen to follow the success of Thread with a new endeavor, a four-song EP. The new EP, Peel, is scheduled to release on March 22nd through Razor & Tie / Fearless Records / Concord and will feature three new stripped down tracks and an eclectic cover of the Beach Boys’ summer classic, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.”
The guys have done something new on “Peel” by introducing fans to new levels of their softer side and elevating their style with diversity and simplicity. In this EP, true to its name, the band ‘peels’ back the layers of production from their usual full-stop Hard Rock sound to expose a more vulnerable and unmasked talent they possess. One of the best things about this sampling of songs is that the guys do not strain or overextend themselves in an effort to impress the listener.
“Blister” is a solemn introduction to Peel that feels more like a sermon or confessional than a form of entertainment. It is gripping and the audible quake in Protich’s voice lends itself to the emotional gravity of the song. On “Left For Dead,” there is an emotional rawness, honesty, and integrity that is sweeping and evocative. Even if you’re not usually a fan of acoustic, stripped down sets and raw vocals, there is something to be appreciated about RSR in this format.
“The Otherside” is a somber journey through self-reflection, discovery of alternate perceptions, and harbors a deep sense of longing that threads throughout the entire track. The guys deliver more of that Beatles-influenced ’70s groove and casual cool that they have been known to experiment with in the past. In addition, they come out swinging with the semi-psychedelic entrancing harmonies that weave themselves around the brain like a dreamy milky way. Protich and company lead in with these rich, drifty, and dreamy tones that float through the listener effortlessly.
Finally, in their cover of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” while taking the grand orchestral scheme down several notches, the guys manage to keep all the sunshine in the Beach Boys classic. Here the listener is treated to another dose of the simplified, but emotionally honest drift that has threaded the entire EP together. It is still bouncy, light-hearted, and sweet, but now the song it is also cleaner. Listening to their rendition feels more like being personally serenaded than listening to a record. It is gentle, upbeat, and earnest.
Overall, RSR has indeed risen to the challenge they set for themselves. On Peel they provide fans and first-timers alike a sampling of something real and unfiltered. The removal of as much pretension and orchestration as possible gives the listener the opportunity to feel a new part of the music that may not have been available if the band had chosen different production for these songs.
It is their choices that truly make the biggest difference here and the methodology and techniques they chose not to explore prove to be just as important, if not more so, than the ones they did use. So, for daring to be bare and showing us all a new dynamic to their range of talent, Cryptic Rock gives Red Sun Rising’s Peel 4.5 out of 5 stars.