After a six year hiatus, The Sun is either going to be exactly what you expect from Fridge, or exactly the opposite. With each of their previous albums getting more and more electronic-based and textural (culminating in the great Happiness), the group then went their separate ways for awhile, with Kieran Hebden going insanely prolific as Four Tet (and under his own name on collaborations with Steve Reid), Adam Ilhan creating a couple lovely albums under his own name, and Sam Jeffers building a successful web design company.
The stars finally aligned for the three again, and instead of continuing their several-album trend that they'd been on, The Sun finds the trio stripping things back to something much more pure and straightforward. In some ways, the release is sort of like a miniature career retrospective styled release, with songs that touch on everything from their grittier, more rocking earlier work (from their Ceefax and even Semaphore releases) to tracks that remind one a bit of the side projects from both Ilhan and Hebden. In essence, it still sounds like Fridge, but they've decided to look backwards just as much (and possibly more) than they looked forwards.
Album-titled "The Sun" kicks things off, and it's basically just over three minutes of banging percussion along with some almost droning tones from both whistle and flat-out noise. It's a heck of a noisy and unexpected start, but it gives way to the long and lovely "Clocks," a fairly straightforward guitar-driven post rock track that nonetheless builds in lovely ways as it piles some subtle textural elements and effects on top of what is fairly stripped-down bass/guitar/drums instrumentation.
From there, the album is all over the place. The group steps things up and rocks the heck out on the three-minute post punk blast of "Eyelids," while "Comets" goes the opposite direction and is one of the bigger winners on the album because of it. Ditching their standard lineup nearly completely, the trio instead takes on organs, drum machines, and piano and churns out a track that sounds just about completely unlike anything they've ever done.
It's not quite all smooth sailing, however, and on tracks like "Our Place In This" and "Years And Years And Years And Years," the group stretches a good short idea into tracks much longer than they should be, dulling their effectiveness in the process. The only song with vocals, "Lost Time" feels sort of like "Long Singing" redux, but it's so darn pretty that it's hard to get too bent out of shape about it. Considering how long it's been between albums, I'm just happy to have the group back again.