Sun Gods in Exile’s sophomore full-length is a satisfying slab of greasy Southern hard rock. It’s the kind of windows-down, pedal-on-the-floor summer music you’ve been waiting for this season. Simple. Rockin’. Effective.
Guitarist Tony D’Agostino shreds every chance he gets. And he gets many. Vocalist/guitarist Adam Hitchcock sounds like Ronnie Van Zant in a surly mood, half-hoarse after a 50-city tour. The rhythm section is driving and the guys have added Chris Neal on keys, slide, harp and backing vocals, accentuating an already prominent Black Crowes bent in songs like “Writings on the Wall,” “Climb Down,” and “Since I’ve Been Home.”
Make no mistake, though — this is harder stuff than the Crowes dish out. Witness the opener, “Hammer Down,” with its monster-rib riffs, or the chugging “Moonshine.”
The title track is the inevitable, regrettable ballad. It’s almost eight-minutes long, but you’ve probably heard worse. I can’t decide if I like the closer more for its elegiac, doped out grandeur or the fact it’s called “I Buried My Bitch’s Car.”
Best not to think about it too much. Just turn it up and roll another one.
— Chris Busby