The Sundowners debut, self-titled album has been highly anticipated as the standout release on the Mersey scene in 2015, and it doesn’t dissapoint, providing a beautifully crafted release you can listen to again and again.
The album is strong in distorted and pulsy guitars, which are apparent from the outset in ‘Wild As The Season’; strongly simplisitc yet euphoric in its aims. Following the opener is the infectiously groovy, crowd pleaser, ‘Back To You’, the album’s fastest point of itchy guitars just brimming with enthusiasm. Then comes the warm and fuzzy radiance of ‘Into The Light, a beautiful raft of polished vocals and distortion.
The album starts fast and comes into its own as it flows on, bringing in one of the more structured tracks next. ‘Who We Are’ stands out as one of the more polished tracks on an album that trys to distance itself from any sort of generic structures and expectations and rightfully so, this album is as good as it is for this very reason. Niamh Rowe and Fiona Skelly team up with some impressive vocals and harmonies on ‘End Of The Game’, which flows with a stunning rhythm built by bass but made by the vocals. If this album has a head nodder it’s ‘End Of The Game’, which gets catchier with every listen. It’s that one track that you always seem to find on an album that hasn’t been released or played live previously, so it’s a geniune buzz when you first hear it and it sings back to you in harmonious fashion. It’s not as fast as it’s predecessors but it has something nothing else on the album has, maybe that’s how it’s intended…
‘If Wishes Were Horses’ comes next, a strutty, bassy number full of sexy self assurance. It oozes vintage edginess whilst allowing itself to be as much glowing pop as buzzy psychedelica. It’s a fizzy can of pop spilling into the western sea with style and elegance. ‘I Dreamed’ is about as close as the vibe gets to their Coral brothers. It’s hard not to feel a bit of a Butterfly House Coral vibe, but with a Sundowners tinge. It’s weirdness drowns you in a twisting haze of hypnotising battle cry. It’s more folky than the rest of the album yet maintains the fuzz and excitement of what came before. A blast from Sundowners past hurdles into your ears next; ‘Hummingbird’ – one of the first Sundowners tracks ever released – has had a sexy little makeover to make it album worthy. It was always a nice track but no band can be satisfied with nice, and these can be proud of what it’s become. The end result is more layered with extra riffs and is now a rhythmic delight.
As we enter the final stages you could forgive the band for taking their foot off the peddle, but The Sundowners don’t really do half-arsed. ‘Desert Rose’ is catchy and never giving you a chance to wake from your dreamland, it races through with a pulsy “I’m a real livewire and I can set your soul on fire”, and that’s the truth – it sort of names itself in that chrous line alone. ‘Soul Responding’ is the penultimate offering, the track that sent a few minds jangling at Glastonbury back in 2013. It’s so hyperactive, you can imagine this one climbing the walls in the studio whilst being recorded with riffs pelting off the ceiling and bass bouncing from wall-to-wall, sure to be a live highlight especially with it’s groovy little makeover for the album.
‘Medicine’ is quite an apt name for a song full of jangling fuzz and distorted guitars. It’s as though you’ve been prescribed a healthy dose of pulsy rock’n’roll. Surely this track is about drugs? It’d be even weirder if it wasn’t to be honest, like what else could “you took the medicine, when you know the effects where unknown” fit in? It’s a hypnotiser, that’s for sure. This album sends a definitive message to it’s listener – smoke, drink and dance till you’re on the floor. Goodnight.
‘Sundowners’ is out now via Skeleton Key Records.