The Volcano Suns – The Bright Orange Years (Homestead) 1985. 1985 was the year I got hipped to the whole post-hardcore thing. Of course at that time, I called it underground music. The term “alternative” with all of its ugly post-grunge connotations was yet to be popularized and I didn’t have the historical hindsight to call it “post-” anything.
I would like to say that I was a big Mission of Burma fan and that the purchase of The Bright Orange Years was a logical extension of my super-good and righteously forward-thinking tastes but that would be untrue. At the time, the Burma LPs were hopelessly obscure. I was a punk/HC fan and I liked some new wavey-type stuff but c’mon….I was a 15 year old in suburban St Louis, MO.
Yep…I read about The Volcano Suns in a SPIN Magazine at my neighbourhood 7-11 and rode my bike to Streetside Records to buy it.
When I got this home and played it, I was floored. It sounded very Midwestern to me. Shit, there was even a song about cornfields. But unlike the Replacements, who had made the bid for a wider audience the previous year with Let It Be (a great album), The Bright Orange Years rocked hard…and these guys were from Boston, not the Midwest at all.
Sonically it was similar to Husker Du and came out right between New Day Rising and Flip Your Wig (both 1985). But it was WEIRDER than Husker Du. The song “(I’m Gonna) Make You Mine” sounded like “Dum Dum” by The Butthole Surfers on Another Man’s Sac (also 1985) and yeah, that’s what The Volcano Suns kinda were really….a compromise between the midwesternisms of Husker Du and the weirdness of The Butthole Surfers built on a foundation of Mission of Burma.
Anyway….hindsight can turn any of us into Greil Marcus. At the precise moment I heard this for the first time, I was not doing any deconstruction. I just played Side A over and over and over….
Their next album All Night Lotus Party was great too. Then Both Jon Williams and Jeff Weigland left the band while Peter Prescott soldiered on with mixed results. A few years later, Rykodisk would re-release all the Burma material and I was one of the few people who upon hearing Burma for the first time, said “Shit, they sound like the Volcano Suns.”
1985 was the year I moved away from just being a punk rocker. This LP was one of the catalysts.
Descent Into Hell
Truth Is Stranger Than Fishing
(I’m Gonna) Make You Mine
Mouth That Roared