A vintage muscle car barreling down an open highway. Crackling airwaves lowlighting the shit we hear in the media. A fiery mushroom cloud billowing in the distance. These are the opening images and audio of SOUND & FURY. Alt-country mainstay Sturgill Simpson is behind the wheel, and he is not here to fuck around.
Through 10 tracks of interwoven slow-burners and hit-makers, Simpson uses his signature twang to serve up biting lyrics like, “I know you know that you’re killin’ me but it’s worth it just to see you smile,” and “Looking out the window at a world on fire, it’s plain to see the end is near.” Lines like these lend a darker tone to the album, and they may even make you reflect on the state of society as we know it. Yet, this combo of lyrics and thematic imagery isn’t even the album’s biggest draw.
SOUND & FURY’s most defining characteristic is its ability to effortlessly glide between genres. From the ‘80s-inspired guitar leads on “Ronin” and “Fastest Horse in Town,” to the squealing and sliding electronics heard on tracks like “Make Art Not Friends” and “Mercury in Retrograde,” this ain’t your daddy’s country music. In fact it might not even be country music, and like a rock and roll box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.
If all this isn’t enough to intrigue you, the entire album is accompanied by a 40-minute anime film of the same name that you can stream on Netflix. SOUND & FURY is ambitious, intense and with a range that should impress any music enthusiast. If you have a penchant for exploration and discovery, this album is just asking for you to jump in, buckle up and sit back for one hell of a ride.
Score: 🤯🤯🤯🤯 / 5