Album Premiere: Sun Valley Gun Club—’The Water, The Stars’
Posted: by The Editor
Sun Valley Gun Club are a four-piece indie rock band out of Sacramento/Oakland whose third full-length album, The Water, The Stars, comes out June 8 on Lauren Records. We’re excited to premiere it here today.
The album cannonballs right in with “If You Would Only Wait,” which feels like it plummets you in mid-verse. But in a style Sun Valley Gun Club mastered on their 2016 self-titled album (which is categorically perfect), they take a hard left after fewer than two minutes. You could chop this song right in half and have an up-tempo pop song on the front end and a spacey, reverb-soaked shoegaze outro on the back. This is Sun Valley Gun Club letting you know where you’ll be spending the next 35 minutes.
Next up is “She is Gone,” which is the band at its apex on all levels, with imagery galore in the lyrics. The lead guitar line that creeps in as you wait for the chorus to drop is absolute perfection, and then that chorus arrives with the some truly beautiful background vocals. That track flows nicely into “Falling Apart,” which, like track one, mashes into a chunky outro that unwinds slowly, attached but separate from the bars that preceded it.
Nothing on the album paints a picture quite like “Goodbye, Columbus”—presumably named after a collection of stories by the late author Philip Roth, who died just a few weeks ago. I haven’t read that collection and I can’t claim to have a grip on the song’s literal meaning, but its vibe swallows you whole. “My god how I can’t keep up with her / Her i’s and j’s are missing dots, and I am missing her.” The instrumentation on this song and a few others have a tick-tocking rhythmic flow reminiscent of early Modest Mouse or Pinback, but with a lyrical delivery that leans toward Pedro the Lion.
“Bad Moon Rising” starts ominously before ultimately hitting you with some of the catchiest hooks on the whole album. It’s followed by “Years, After All” which plays out in spacious fits and stops, with the bass line mimicking the vocals and occasionally walking up and down in scales that chop the syllables into fractions.
The album is rounded out with “Time,” a track that jumps from one vivid scene to the next over seven-plus minutes, and “I Saw a Pigeon,” which lyrically delivers on its title before the whole band circles to the looping mantra that punctuated the album’s first track. “If you would only wait, if you would only wait…”
If you crave immediate gratification in your quest for new music, start with “She is Gone” and “Goodbye, Columbus,” but you’ll be rewarded if you let it roll out sequentially, because these songs belong together.
Stream The Water, The Stars below:
Justin Cox | @coxjustin
The Alternative is ad-free and 100% supported by our readers. If you’d like to help us produce more content and promote more great new music, please consider donating to our Patreon page, which also allows you to receive sweet perks like free albums and The Alternative merch.