Suns Of The Tundra’s initial flurry of activity – a self-titled debut in 2004 and 2006’s follow-up, Tunguska – occurred under the radar of most prog fans, so Bones Of Brave Ships will be most people’s introduction to this artful band.
Those earlier records deserved more attention, but this one is so gloriously ambitious and vivid that its potential audience is colossal. Crafted as a soundtrack to South, a silent movie about Ernest Shackleton’s trans-Antarctic expeditions, it is as formidable and overwhelming as the landscapes and existential conundrums it evokes. The Suns’ sound exudes a sense of limitless space and owes much to post-rock’s somnambulant textures and even Fields Of The Nephilim’s shadowy grandeur. But the balance between atmosphere and harmony is elegantly precise. Thus, the flow of ideas, whether erupting amid a storm of riffs on the opening Restlessness or drifting downstream on a tie-dyed lilo on Ghosts Of Our Mothers is irresistible. Some beautiful melodies emerge from the melee, too, ranging from the Satie-esque Warden’s Horizon to peaks of volcanic melodrama during opulent epics Latitude and Animals. An extraordinary, joyous triumph.