Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Go Watch The Thing This Band Did That Exists Now (or: A Look At Sunset Hearts)

This blog might not reach a ton of viewers, and most of the people who have access to updates already know each other, but I figured I'd utilize it today to give a shout out to a guy I know and the band he's part of.

If you haven't heard of Sunset Hearts, then I'm doing you a favor.  If you have heard of Sunset Hearts, then, well, then you know it's a thing.

And it's a good thing.

I'm not a music critic, by any means.  I would not be able to craft together words like William Mann did when he reviewed The Beatles.  I don't know enough about key changes, note placement, or harmonizing techniques to be able to judge an elementary school slide whistle recital, much less a real group.  I wouldn't be able to, in a million years, craft a sentence about bringing "a distinctive and exhilarating flavour into a genre of music."

I also wouldn't be able to rip something apart the way Richard Meltzer did when he used the phrase "dying musical virility" to describe The Beach Boys "When I Grow Up To Be A Man."

I don't really know how to describe "synthpop," I'm not really sure if I should be comparing them to bands like M83, Tears For Fears, Capital Cities, or any of the other bands listed as "synthpop" on Wikipedia's website.  I will say that the song I'll Play It Wrong does strongly remind me of Alizee's La Candida.  So congratulations, you remind me of my favorite French pop artist.

What I can say is I've listened to their music, and I've seen them perform live.  While the outdoor setting left a bit to be desired acoustically, it was still an enjoyable show.  Listening to it in a digital audio format, I'm able to get a stronger sense of balance, but the live performance allows me to envision the group in my head.

There's lead singer Casey McCurry's tight grip around the microphone as he sings into it.  From the distance I sat at, it appeared he was getting swallowed up completely by his own music and lyrics, being a font (or, if that's too pretentious, a conduit) for an emotion and energy he was able to tap into from somewhere else.  I'm pretty sure his eyes were closed, because if they weren't, I wouldn't have been surprised to see a slight glow come from behind them.

I'm able to picture Erik Tasker (a good friend of mine, and how I found out about the group) as he performs, deeper in the bass work than anybody else, a scarf draped around his neck, almost seeming like he's performing with an entirely different group and just wandered onto another stage.   The effort he seems to be putting into his movements while he performs is in stark contrast to the smooth actions of the other performers.  He brings a more "mechanical" aspect to the performance, which isn't a criticism.  He seems to bring an aspect from other bands I've seen perform, where the part of the song they do is actual work.  It's something they create with their whole body, not just with an appendage or their voice.  He's also the only one who looks really tired after each song.

There's also Sadie McCurry, who I will freely admit I didn't realize until the video that she actually did any of the music.  I know I saw her sing, but I kept thinking that iPad she carried was in charge of sound levels or balance or treble or other terms I remember being "options" on my car radio I could manipulate.  It's only today I learned she uses an app for sampling, providing a unique ingredient to the group.

What I'm trying to say is two things:

They're a lot of fun to see live.

They do good music.

For the record, Sunset Hearts, I will complain if you refer to this post as "This guy said that trying to review us was like trying to review The Beatles!  Or The Beach Boys!

They have a music video out now, so if you want to get to watch them while you find out what they sound like, then you're in luck.  If you want to just listen, then I recommend clicking on the video and then looking another direction.  When is the last time you looked around your windows for cobwebs, or at that ceiling fan to see if it's dusty?

For more of their music, go to their website.  For more about them, like them on Facebook.

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