SUNSPOT – Neanderthal

CD Reviews 10 Feb 2007


SUNSPOT – Neanderthal

2007   Sunspot Music

Sunspot celebrated their 10 year anniversary in ‘06 and spent their holidays on the road, touring through the west and south, from Texas to California, before heading back home to release their newest album, Neandrathal.  This is one of those bands that has consistently toured, consistently built their fan base and consistently had a blast creating their hilarious and satisfying blend of modern, melodic rock with the best elements of pop-punk bubbling through.

Their last release, Cynical, featured gems like “Scott Bakula” and “The Happy Song.”  But the album that garnered them the most attention was 2003’s “Loser of the Year,” which nabbed a MAMA and led to their award as the WAMI’s Group of the Year in ‘04.  This newest album continues bassist/vocalist Mike Huberty, guitarist Ben Jaeger and drummer Wendy Lynn Staats’ adventures in humor laden, riff driven, rock ‘n’ roll goodness.

Sunspot digs up hooks for every song on this disc, from the frantic opener, “Goodbye Good Guy,” to the darkly disco-tinged title track, to the surprisingly somber and epic closing track, “Viking Funeral.”  The riffs range from classic rock to hair metal to the more endearing side of modern punk rock.  This band puts out a ton of sound, giving them a much bigger presence than you’d expect from a three-piece.  And with all three members singing along, the vocal hooks cut deep and stay with you.

But I’ve always found the incredible sense of humor that this band brings to their music to be the most endearing and ubiquitous aspects to Sunspot’s charm.  In “Eat Your Heart Out,” Huberty laments the loss of love and the reality of the inevitable emotional backlash of a breakup.  I know that may not seem funny, but when the chorus is “I hope you have an ugly boyfriend / I hope you’re working at a carwash / I hope your life went down the drain and everything is not okay / I hope your best years passed you up,” you can’t help but laugh.  And then, from “Neadrathal,” it was just one simple word that made me laugh out loud every time it hit the speakers: “Berserker!”  Hell, the opening line of “Mr. Foff” made me laugh in stark recognition of a place I’ve been myself far too many times: “Another night, 12 other shitty bands / Nothing to do, just sitting on our hands / Then somebody new came into town / He got us drunk, yeah, he turned the beat around.” 

Sunspot has been around as long as I can even remember.  They were one of the first bands I saw in this town and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for these guys.  Their humor and talent is obvious and their live shows are always a blast.  So, please raise a glass to Sunspot and congratulate them on beginning their second decade with a strong album of catchy tunes with incredibly funny lyrics.  Cheers!

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