Monday, October 22, 2012

Music Reviews: Sundials - "When I Couldn't Breathe"

It's been proven time and again that when a band makes a classic album they have a hard time following that album up with something equally as good, if not better. More times than not the band in question take 3 steps back, instead of 2 steps forward. There have been the occasional exception. For example the new Sundials album, "When I Couldn't Breath" (out now on Asian Man Records), is better than the bands last album "Never Settle", which was a pretty solid album front to back. "When I Couldn't Breath" is an album made by a band who seem focused on making timeless songs and legendary albums. And they're off to a great start.

For fans of "Never Settle" you won't be disappointed. But what makes this album stand out is it's heaviness. The album kicks off with fuzzed out bass and distorted feedback on "710". It had me thinking if this was the same band that I remember hearing first the first time early last year. This is a breath of fresh air for a band who keeps evolving with each release. But for all the heaviness there are some quiet moments that are just as awesome. The title track is a wonderful song musically and lyrically. It reminds me of why I loved this band the first time I heard them. They're not afraid to wear their hearts on sleeve with brute honesty and sincerity.

Singer/guitarist Harris Mendell has a way of pulling you into the song and make you feel exactly what he's singing about. Whether it be joy, angst or pain...you FEEL it. And complementing Mendell is bassist Carl Athey and drummer Cory Chubb who give room for Mendell to showcase his playing but also hold it all together with a great beat and bass runs that bring each song into focus. And when these guys harmonize, it's like the skies open up and the sun come raining down on you. Listen to "Completely Broken" and you'll hear what I'm talking about.

"The Mad Stork Makes Another Movie" is a hit that could propel Sundials into the mainstream. But I don't think that's what the bands looking for. And, to be honest, I would be more than happy having this band be my best kept secret. This is just such a great band full of ambition and tenacity. With each release you see them grow and flourish as a group. They don't take one path and run with it. They'll go wherever their hearts tell them to go. And it really shows on "When I Couldn't Breath". This is a band with so much to say. So the question remains...are you listening?

4 ½  / 5 stars

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