REVIEW: The Sunpilots – King of the Sugarcoated Tongues

English translation of our album review in Austrian magazine Demonic Nights.

Demonic Nights

When The Sunpilots were founded in 2009, they swore to do things without a major record label on their backs and to tour relentlessly instead. After the release of their debut album “Living Receiver” they were pulled from Sydney to Berlin to take advantage of the German capital as the new base for their endless tour schedule.

King of the Sugarcoated TonguesIn the meantime, the quartet led by singer Raj Siva Rajah created new material that mixes the 70s prog approach with even more alternative rock sounds. “King of The Sugarcoated Tongues” is available as a free download, but is available on CD from the band’s online store.

In eight chapters, the Australians tell a story about the human desire for security and the sacrifices we have to make to earn it… The Prologue “3 Minutes To Midnight” opens at a relatively temperate pace, but quickly climbs in clear proggerie to a Led Zeppelin-impact. The showpiece is certainly Raj Siva-Rajah’s extravagant voice, sounding like an equal fusion of classic Carnartic vocal styles (Siva Rajah’s mother is from Sri Lanka) and classic rock. It’s Robert Plant, Matt Bellamy and Brandon Boyd rolled into one- even the falsetto works and has substance. One of Bob Spencer’s many passionate guitar solos gives the song a certain retro touch.

I’m currently playing one of the longer Sunpilots tracks and it’s musical brilliance. “The Captain” lurches from a classic American alternative rock bridge to a Floyd vs. Muse chorus, rounded by a epic solo, bombarded by British hard-rock elements before the rhythm section of Adil Baktir and Kay Ketting turn the grand finale into a veritable Groove-bastard:

“Sex And TV” makes grand gestures somewhere between “You Shook Me” and “Citizen Erased” with a middle section that has vibes of Muse’s “Origin Of Symmetry”:

In “Exodus” we’re blessed again with some Origin-style riffs. The Sunpilots even a drift a little into the metal realm with this track, which finally converges the threads of the record and in an almost jazzy moment, links back to the first notes of the album:

“King Of The Sugarcoated Tongues” continues the dance of outstanding Australian bands. Whatever swims in the water Down Under would do the local music scene some good. With their extraordinary indie way, fascinating storytelling, sophisticated retro songwriting and a terrific singer The Sunpilots supply an Alt-Prog treat of the highest order. Free download action aside, there’s also a lovingly made Digipak with all the lyrics and purchasing the CD is definitely worth it to support the DIY ethos of this exceptional band.

Rating: 9/10

“King of the Sugarcoated Tongues” available from:
The Sunpilots store

Visit The Sunpilots at:
Twitter (@thesunpilots)
Instagram (@thesunpilots)


Our story

*Article from MyCraft magazine, Issue 103

Live at Besser Als Nix festival, Germany Hailing from Sydney, Australia, The Sunpilots have quickly earned a reputation as a killer live act and one of the hardest working independent bands in the world. They left their home Down Under in 2010 to begin their ‘Gypsy Tour’ and have been living on the road ever since. The boys have no fixed home and have been staying on fans' couches for the past 4 years.

So far The Sunpilots have toured the USA, UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Raj (SO36, Germany) “On average we do around 4 to 5 shows and 2000 to 3000 kms of driving a week,” says Raj Siva-Rajah, who is both frontman and manager of the band. “The first van we bought in Europe was a 20 year old shitbox with no airconditioning. Yeah, that was fun in summer…” he laughs. “We run our own record label, do our own booking. It’s been intense.”

Formed by Raj and guitarist Bob Spencer in 2008, The Sunpilots have always been fiercely independent. The band released their debut album ‘Living Receiver’ in 2009 to rave reviews, a MusicOz Award, an ‘Indie Album of the Year’ and two ‘Indie Album of the Week’ awards from Australian street press. The single ‘Spotlight in the Sun’ became the #1 most added song on Australian radio and Apple featured another track as an iTunes Single of the Week. The band also became a North American college radio favourite and won ‘Best International Artist’ at the Toronto Independent Music Awards and ‘Single of the Year’ at the LA Independent Music Awards.

Life on the road But it wasn’t long before The Sunpilots began feeling the limitations of touring a huge but sparsely populated country like Australia. And so came their decision to embark on a full-time tour of the rest of the world. While the plan might seem slightly insane, it fits with the band’s do-or-die ethos. “If you’re not on a mission, you might as well be dead,” says Spencer with a smile. “We’ll keep doing this till we make it or kill each other, what ever comes first.”

King of the Sugarcoated Tongues The Sunpilots’ latest album ‘King of the Sugarcoated Tongues’ is an epic 8-chapter story about the human need for security and the freedoms we trade for it. The record sees the band’s sound evolve into a kind of Zeppelin-meets-Radiohead progressive rock that has been critically acclaimed by reviewers. Raj’s unique singing style comes from being raised in two musical worlds: from the age of 8 his mother (a classical Sri Lankan singer) instructed him in the Carnatic music of the east while he simultaneously fell in love with all things rock. When the passionate vocals and storytelling lyrics collide with with Spencer’s ripping guitar solos the result is explosive. Especially on stage, where the band shines brightest.

The Sunpilots have made the decision to let fans download ‘King of the Sugarcoated Tongues’ for free. “We just want people to hear our music, so we let them download it,” says Raj. “All we ask in return is that they share it, and donate something if they can afford to.” It seems to be working since the album is downloaded several hundred times a week and that number is growing daily.

Bob Spencer (Prog Sud festival, France) So what’s next for The Sunpilots? The boys have just finished a 35-state tour of the US and are now en route to Berlin to start work on a new record. “It'll be great to be in one place long enough to write again!” Raj says. “We’ve started demoing ideas and we’re really pumped about where it’s going.” With a new album around the corner and more US & European touring to follow, The Sunpilots are set to achieve big things next year.

Long live independent rock.

*Live photo credits (in order): Gabi Henke, Domenico Perri, Arthur Obédia

The Sunpilots – Official Hiwatt Artists

Hiwatt Artists - Bob Spencer BIG NEWS!! Our very own Bob Spencer has joined the ranks of guitarists like Jimmy Page as an official Hiwatt artist! Other Hiwatt artists include Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys, Led Zeppelin, Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian, Razorlight & The Who. Bob uses a hand-made DR103 Custom 100w head with a 2x12 Fane loaded box to get his epic tone. The guys at Hiwatt are really supportive of independent music & what we've been doing. And we love them for it.

Check out our Hiwatt artist page:

Hiwatt Artists - Bob Spencer

Photos: Arthur Ob & Aleksander Domanski


Privatclub July 24 – Our one, very special 2014 Berlin show

It's been an intense few months since we landed in Berlin this year. We've built a studio in the old east side of the city, driven across Europe, played some festivals & done an insane amount of busking to pay the rent. In between that we've also been working on a new record. We weren't planning on doing a Berlin show till we returned from the US, but you guys have changed our mind. The support we've received in this place has been amazing and humbling. And, even though playing semi-acoustic on the street has been fun, it's been pretty frustrating. We need amps... on a stage... with a pumping, sweaty crowd. So here it is. Our one, very special 2014 Berlin show. It's a celebration of our journey so far and of where it's led us. And a farewell to our fans and friends in Berlin before we leave for the States. We hope you can join us! Share this and invite your friends to spread the word- we'd love to pack the place out: 2014-07-24 Privatclub - The Sunpilots (AUS) + Bunny Suit (DE) + Mynolia (CAN)