Sons of Raphael’s debut is irritating and kitsch, yet nonetheless holds a charm
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  • Post published:25/05/2021
  • Post last modified:25/05/2021

Full-Throated Messianic Homage is by its very design overly pretentious. Sons Of Raphael, aka brothers Loral and Ronnel Raphael’s take on rock ‘n’ roll is all pomp with its rapid series of biblical references spanning over a mere 30 minutes, wrapping pop up in psychedelic garments.

Take the regularity of “He Who Makes The Morning Darkness”. Its harmonies oozing pop geometries à la Tommy James & The Shondells, with the same kaleidoscopic vision but sans the strong, R&B aesthetics typical of the Michiganders. There’s a charm to preceedings – is it the general vintage ambiance or the ever-impending wall of sound? Maybe both, maybe neither, but somehow Full-Throated Messianic Homage is a very good record.

Even “Yeah Yeah Yeah”, with its carefree, escapist gait feels almost elementary, the drumming driving a repetitive vocal harmony around. The final product is a 100-second hook at least a decade away from a song like “On dreams that are sent by God” and its fuzzy inflection. One could play a game and recognise bits of The Lemon Twigs here (the opener “Revolution”) and there (“He who makes the morning darkness”), or MGMT and Passion Pit when the situation is such – “Devil devil” – that a healthy dose of distortion is required.

Full-Throated Messianic Homage does its job of taking the listener into a psych-pop vortex and it does it damn well. Hints of Deerhunter, Beach House and The Tulips help define what is a very encouraging debut album which shows some substantial progress from 2018’s EP A Nation Of Bloodsuckers – where the raw sonic attack of “Rio” is now diluted, rendered inoffensive, replaced by orchestral arrangements toying with psych-pop.

Furtively hooking you in to its submissive, suffused stride Full-Throated Messianic Homage fades away after half an hour of graciously filthy pomp. Terrible albums deserve love too.

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