BY BARRY ST. VITUS
Nudie-suited Canadian country rockers The Sadies are back on the scene in all their psychoactive glory, with this stunning 11-track release. Recorded over the period of a year, and breaking their bank, the band was finally satisfied with their un-hurried results. Highly respected as a ‘band’s band’ by their peers, Internal Sounds is a stunning addition to their impressive body of work. The song titles are rather enigmatic, or perhaps just a stoner arcaneness to contemplate, their cosmic continuity does give one pause, with a smile. “The First 5 Minutes,” (five minutes long,) “The Very Beginning,” “Starting All Over Again,” “The Very Ending,” “Another Tomorrow Again,” and “Another Yesterday Again,” do have you searching for a deeper meaning within, or perhaps just searching for the joke with a microscope.
“The First 5 Minutes” lobs a ‘60s garage fuzz-bomb to kick it all off. Being long-time fans of the genre, they pound it out perfectly. The following number juxtaposes to their country side, “So Much Blood,” and has shades of The Band, along with a doleful Dobro emphasis. “The Very Beginning,” does a gradual buildup into the thundering guitar, bass and drum body of the piece, where they intone,
“We are the chosen ones,
We are the children of the sun,
And now the ending has begun, the battle is won,
But, no one is lost when all is said and done.”
The song finally ending in the simple, country-fried way that it began. “Starting All Over Again” is a beautiful psychedelic pop tune, ala their collaborative work with Rick White (Eric’s Trip,) Greg Keelor (Blue Rodeo) and the Unintended about a decade ago. Fans of the atmospheric instrumentals won’t be disappointed with “The Very Ending” or “The Lesser Key,” except for being rather short, 90 seconds. The latter gets very intricate, stoney and dreamlike, and you want it to last longer. Both “Another Tomorrow Again” and “Leave This World Behind,” puts a pointed boot up your ass with hard-kicking country rock, like you can depend on them to always contribute. “Another Yesterday Again” makes for a Byrd’s Further Along-era sound, while the following number, “Leave This World Behind,” falls squarely into their Sweetheart of the Rodeo territory. “Story 19” treads familiar, classic Sadies terrain, and finishing out in swirling “Interstellar Overdrive”-like psych flare-ups they’re so fond of.
In the closing number, “We Are Circling,” they make an almost jaw-dropping departure from all that’s come before, more transcendent and hypnotic, accompanied by fellow countryman Buffy Sainte-Marie playing mouth-bow and lending haunting vocals to the meditative chanting. Talk about Hashishins; it’s quite trance-inducing with the repetitive lyrics, falling in that space between worlds of a Native American peyote ritual and a Tibetan temple ritual.
It’s uplifting to see a band climbing ever higher with each new release, rather than wretchedly ratcheting downward like most others. All the time and effort expended towards the creation of Internal Sounds is obvious in the skillfully crafted songwriting and masterful musicianship. Dallas Good, (guitars, vocals and organ) taking the producer helm for the first time, endeavored to fully capture the band’s live sound by bringing vocals out front, positioning the guitars high in the mix and capturing a polished tone overall. Other members remain brother Travis on guitars, fiddle and vocals, Sean Dean on bass and Mike Belitsky on drum kit. Clearly all parties involved succeeded in exorcising and invoking those internal sounds and making them manifest on the physical plane for us all to meditate on, or just groove to. They are indeed the cosmic cowboys and long may they ride the space ways!
DOWNLOAD: “The First 5 Minutes,” “The Very Beginning,” “We Are Circling.“