Gritty times call for gritty sounds. And Sunshine Riot are answering the bell. For the past 15 years or so, the veteran Boston rock band ran with a variety of genres, swirling around a cocktail of guitar-rock that boasted dalliances with soul, Americana, punk, blues, and grunge. But as darkness fell upon society at the start of the pandemic age, the quartet entered a new era, unleashing a series of three EPs over three years: 2021’s “Electrical Tape” with acclaimed engineer Steve Albini at Chicago’s Electrical Audio; 2022’s “Sparkle Baby 2000" with producer George Dussault at Galilee Studios in Rhode Island; and 2023’s “Loud, Bright and Violent”, which saw the band crank up the volume once more and return to Chicago to link back up with Albini. The results are a seasoned band making music on their own terms: “Electrical Tape” acts as a raw, damn near primal alternative rock record that packs the introspection and dedication one must possess to survive in this day in age; “Sparkle Baby 2000” leans into a mindful and hyper-aware college rock and jangle-pop sound that calls back to our indie influences and explores an uncertain adulthood through a modern lens; and “Loud, Bright and Violent” fixates on the paranoia and purgatory we feel as we slowly come to terms with the pandemic age.The trio of EPs may come off like an evolution in sound for Sunshine Riot, but after more than a decade in the game, what emits from the speakers is a band finally comfortable in their own skin, playing this damned game of rock and roll with an ace up their collective sleeve, propped up by their own merits and fueled by their own creativity. In the end, despite what dressing coats the core of whatever genre label someone on the outside may apply, the foundation remains a rock and roll ethos as timeless as the music itself.
Play it loud, and come scream along.