Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun begins with “Crater”, a ragged anthem that erupts with frayed guitar and thundering rhythm. Dallas and Travis Good’s trudging riffs light the low-slung growl of Gord Downie:
Hello there / Gentle Son / A crater / We’re creating!
“Crater” is an arrival: the mission statement of a young band unhinged, igniting ten songs of visceral punk rock exultation. Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun is a spirited exploration of the darkness surrounding daylight, a rallying cry from the Secret Museum of Mankind:
Crater! / Getting crushed in our dreams / Or in our dreams / Doing all the crushing
Downie’s words burn in unison with the charging Sadies, the mantra of a band forged out of primal necessity. This album is a vital, reckless, and ecstatic moment, gleaming with the proud imperfections of a group discovering its voice.
It came together urgently but slowly, after the long-time Toronto friends first recorded together for Lake Ontario Waterkeepers in 2006. Fleeting sessions over the next seven years yielded finished songs in immediate, alchemical takes. Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun is the action of first-thought-best-thought.
The project’s namesake, “The Conquering Sun” fuses The Sadies’ rusted psychedelia with Downie’s humble, volatile wail. Mike Belitsky’s roiling drums, and Sean Dean’s sure, standing bass spur the band through uncharted desert-scapes.
Working the fugitive dust / Under the conquering sun / Nature, please be good to us / Under the conquering sun
Each song brims with energy, electricity embellishing a simple, rustic core. Acoustic inflections are cached in the album’s array of fiery environments, staggering in its balance of ferocity and craft.