Album Review: Sun June – ‘Somewhere’
Posted: by The Editor
Sun June’s sophomore album, Somewhere, stretches its arms out wide and sighs. It’s one of the year’s first truly fascinating rock records and does not concern itself with urgency or force, deciding instead to take its time, and slowly unfurl. The Austin band’s new record was conceived of as their “prom album,” built around the reckless joy and confusion of young love. While that doesn’t come out in a narrative sense, the emotions imbued into each track convey that sweet headrush. Despite its mere 40 minute runtime, listening to it feels reminiscent of slow cinema. There’s a story being told, but those in control want to make sure every detail is perceived. It’s a breathy, indie rock version of the cult film Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussel. We get glimpses of the broader world, but mostly just wistful daydreams. It’s all the better for it.
Many of the songs on Somewhere touch on place, and while they’re always specifically pinned to a city – New Orleans, Los Angeles, Manhattan – Colwell’s stories seem unstuck from location, full of free-floating details. If she didn’t mention driving “down to New Orleans”, the events of the vaporous, lush highlight “Bad girl” could have taken place anywhere. That track in particular exemplifies the slice-of-life quality much of the record takes on. It’s lackadaisical, with a bassline that loudly meanders throughout and gives Colwell a chance to show off her voice’s impressive range, all while sounding like it’s held together with gossamer threads.
Somewhere’s arrangements feel simple and subdued, despite the grandeur its instrumentation imposes on it. Often the synths manifest as a fill light, just softly glowing in the background. On the lead single “Karen O,” there is a faint electric pulse that hits just as each drum does. Once the drums cut, the synth remains, ringing out a few last times, and giving the it a fittingly poignant close. One of the only drawbacks to this bright, glimmering production’s ubiquity on the record, is that causes the song’s in it’s midsection to bleed into one another. Not a song on the record doesn’t feel ornate in its production, but the album’s closer, “Colors” is notable for how stripped-down it is, at least comparatively. It’s not the only track with the warm strums of acoustic guitar, but it’s the only one that uses it as a foundation. The guitar plays a peripheral role on this record full of synths and strings and bass, so it’s refreshing to see it become the focal point at the end.
While Sun June certainly aren’t the only group making breezy, shimmering indie rock, they clearly know full well what the goal of their art is. The confidence is palpable, and makes for a record that feels as tight and controlled as it’s subject matters feel like incorporeal daydreams.
Disappointing / Average/ Good / Great /Phenomenal
Eric Bennett | @seething_coast
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