”Loving my enemies don’t feel so right. Loving my enemies feels like another fight. But vengeance, oh sweet vengeance feels alright.”
There’s an almost Platonic rock perfection to Sunsphere (pick it up HERE), the relentlessly right-on new EP from Alabama hard charging warriors the Dexateens, which binds the ground zero energies of Elvis Presley and Little Richard to the barbed, spitting ferocity of The Sonics and Flamin’ Groovies and fist-in-the-air bravura of early Grand Funk Railroad and Nirvana, and then intercuts the whole affair with the sorta brains and sharp songwriting that make folks love Joe Strummer so damn much.
The first new studio work from Tuscaloosa’s finest since 2009 balances rollicking dustups with honestly touching reflective moments, each side of singer-bandleader-guitarist Elliott McPherson coming across as legit, sincere expressions of a thoughtful pit fighter wrestling with life’s challenges, domestic and otherwise. Taking its title from the centerpiece of the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, TN, Sunsphere strides through history with confidence, showing that the past is ever present, even if it’s as ancient as Roman Emperor Constantine.
That this shit still rocks your balls into a firestorm is a measure of the Dexateens’ talents and instincts. They mostly play hard and fat free – lean ‘n’ nasty is the rule here, the children of mean, cracklin’ juke blues and Exile-era Stones – except when tenderness is called for, and then all they nail that just right, too, sometimes in the space of a few bars in the same song – “Vengeance” is a beautiful study in striking contrasts and the challenge of loving one’s enemies, and banjo dappled “Broken Objects” is quietly haunting even as it reminds us to “pay attention to the wind, be patient with the rain, be grateful for the sunshine beating down on your face.” As much as the Impound has dug the band’s earlier work, Sunsphere is the most addictively listenable, downright fun salvo yet from a band ably doing their part to live up to their simple, laudatory Facebook Page call to arms: “Save rock and roll.”
McPherson agreed to puzzle over the Impound’s light philosophical inquiry, and here’s what he had to say.
Name: Elliott McPherson
What’s the first thing that springs to mind when you see the word “God”?
When I see the word God, I see a troubled Christ, standing on a cliff, watching us.
Which has the better cosmology, Star Wars or Star Trek? Why?
Star Wars. I’m pretty sure there is an evil empire disguised as a caring government.
Name one album that has spiritual resonance for you.
Alabama’s My Home’s In Alabama. My first cassette that I wasn’t hiding from my parents. [Captain Beefheart’s] Trout Mask Replica is a close second.
Woody Allen once said, “I don’t know the question but sex is definitely the answer.” So, what’s the question?
Why are people so damn trashy?
You can have a dinner party with any three people throughout human history. Who do you invite, what’s on the menu and what intoxicant do you share for dessert?
Guests: Jesus Christ, Elvis Presley, and Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Dinner: catfish with banana pudding
Intoxicant: red wine
Of course, I invite the rest of the Dexateens and my family.