The protagonists of the lurid stories of Tunnel vocalist/ guitarist Jeff Wagner may be grifters, but nihilists they are not. Riding possessed upon the feral, hypnotic rhythms of bassist/noisemaker Sam Black and drummer Patrick Crawford, Wagner’s anti-heroes grasp at transcendence and howl in ecstasy. Many of the song demos for
SULTRY DAGGERS were created by a reclusive Wagner healing multiple broken bones after a bike accident, a gestation wrought with peculiar visions. The band then reconvened and collectively devoured the demos, reanimating them along with three songs from the vaults of Wagner and Black. The resulting album is the first by the San Francisco band to openly admit to a love of the future-punk visions of Chrome and Killing Joke, as well as the dark, pretty melodies of studio alchemists like Cranes and Tones on Tail. These elements build upon the twisted drones of SULTRY DAGGERS’seafaring predecessor FATHOMS DEEP (2011) and the sparse, gothic ballads of the debut, CARVER BROTHERS LULLABY (2009). Opening with a propulsive lurch into the grimy space-surf tones of "Shed the Skin", Side One drives relentlessly through to Track 4, the circular-7/8-metered, Jesus Lizard-meets-Film Noir drama of "Confessor". Side Two transitions into a set of progressively deeper, more atmospheric songs, from the cacophonous, helical coils of "Trigger" to the ethereal, Club Silencio-style closer "Song of the Spectre." SULTRY DAGGERS was recorded by Black in San Francisco, mixed by Chris Crawford (French Miami) at Death by Audio in Brooklyn, and mastered by Carl Saff in Chicago (Grails, Unsane). The recording sessions were enlivened by a delirious but tasteful indulging in Black's arsenal of vintage electronics (Space Echo, CompuRhythm CR78, Synare, a resuscitated 1940s RCA 44BX ribbon mic) and the lovely backing vocals of Elizabeth Kelley.
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