It’s odd, I know, to be writing about music that nearly everybody can’t yet listen to. In the case of Suns‘ new one, though, the idea of bottling up my excitement about When We Were Us until it secures a release date — at least I don’t think it has one yet — seems tremendously silly.
The takeaway from both shows is how enormously loud these guys are when performing for audiences. Four guitars are up on stage at once, as well as two drum kits. A few weeks ago I wrote that Suns is like “…two bands deciding it a good idea to marry and then, you know, play shows together.”
Yet what I began realizing at Suns’ live shows and later confirmed by listening to When We Were Us a good amount of times is how their big noise functions more as punctuation tool than loudness for the sake of loudness. The average band, I think, has a tendency to be intentionally rowdy, which is fine. Suns, though, is more purposeful in how it throws its noise around.
When We Were Us, actually, is steeped in high levels of professionalism. Much of its contents carefully spill into each other, one track into the next, thereby creating a package that makes the most sense, sonically, strung together as one. There’s a strong spirit of wholeness, then, on the album; an element too often omitted from today’s LPs. That When We Were Us happens to be Suns’ first full-length makes its completeness even richer.
These guys so fluidly meander the dial: from a storm of drums to quiet poetry, words that are yelled to lyrics merely spoken, explosions of noise to serene peace. These movements, and the movements within those movements, seem so effortless and natural. Suns pull it off with a kind of grace.
The song that might do it best — “Strangeland” — also happens to be one of the three tracks you can stream today on Suns’ Bandcamp. Counter to much on When We Were Us, “Strangeland” doesn’t begin in a place and then grow from there. It begins real big before downshifting to a gentler low.
- The Chicago-based Suns is Nick Enderle (guitars, mandolin, springs, vocals), Matt Lemke (rhodes, magnus, harmonium, synth, guitar, vocals), Kody Nixon (bass, banjo, vocals), Mikey Russell (guitars, vocals), Clinton Weber (drums, glockenspiel, vocals) and Chris Pagnani (drums, clarinet, vocals). | Facebook
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