In the build up to the release of “Kill The Sun”, Cane Hill frontman Elijah Witt stated that “Jar of Flies” by Alice In Chains as well as R&B and Pop music were influences on the EP’s concept. The choice of Kris Crummett (DanceGavinDance, KnucklePuck, MaydayParade) rather than a more mainstream rock producer for the promise of an acoustic EP raised a few eyebrows but why not?
The EP starts with “86 – No Escort” which has some fuses together some programmed electronics with an atmospheric acoustic guitar riff that builds gradually through the track. Elijah Witt’s clean vocals shine which is clearly the intended outcome however the electronics and vocal repetition make the songs final out come sound more like a remix than a piece of new material. “Empty” sees the clean vocals get pushed that much further with some very effeminate melodic passages akin to something Deftones frontman Chino Moreno has brought to the table. The flamenco style acoustic guitar passage is outstanding. “Save Me” introduces piano arrangements in place of the electronics and builds on a 70s rock sound from acoustic guitars into controlled electric solo. It’s almost tribal drum closing is also a nice touch.
EP title track “Kill The Sun” continues the darker introspective lyrical content while including unexpected profanity for the first time. Overlaying a programmed drum loop with an acoustic guitar later and then a lead electric guitar layer should sound better than it does. It all ends up sounding a bit mechanical and like a remix rather than a song. That being said, once again the vocals shine. “Acid Rain” has a far more natural acoustic guitar feel that some of the material here and manages to reach the hoped for heights of the Alice In Chains stylings that are prominent within some of the bands core sound. The Industrial inspired final 80 seconds is a needless add on that could have been dropped in favour of a final verse chorus. “Smoking Man” picks up where the first half of “Acid Rain” left off with a decent acoustic guitar riff and a pace to it that give it a sense of urgency and grabs the attention. That then falls away mid-song to be replaced by a programmed beat underlaying the vocals and that then closes out on an electronic chaos.
On the programming side “Kill The Sun” builds off of “French 75” from Cane Hill’s self-titled debut released in 2015, while skillfully avoiding the rap vocals that did nothing for the band at all. The EP is full of ideas but if anything falls down because there is too much going on. Less could have been so much more. If the programming was dropped and the band just did a straight acoustic EP with perhaps the odd electric guitar lead part, that would be something worth more. Then if they wanted to do a remix EP then do that as a separate entity. Some of the tracks end up sounding like remixes rather than new material, the acoustic guitars sounding like programmed loops rather than anything else. On the other hand if you’re looking for a piece of chill out music then this works. It just feels like a compromise or a miss-step when Cane Hill have already put out a mixed bag in “Too Far Gone” and a live album [5/10]