Well, it’s becoming fairly obvious that anything that comes out on Dirt Cult Records should be taken seriously if you’re a fan of punk that contains a measure of pop, a hint of oomph and a sack full of melody, whilst maintaining that touch of individuality that saves the label from becoming pigeonholed. Sundowners, from Minneapolis, Minn., deliver four tracks that have all of those elements and combine them to produce a sound that, as crazy as it might seem, is kind of frantic whilst being laid back.
The guitars on this record contain a bit more jangle than fuzz, and in doing so allow the songs to come across with a more laid back feel, without really losing the enjoyable, mid-paced approach from start to finish. The other noticeable element of the guitars is a reliance more on notes over thrashing chords, allowing the melodies to flow throughout. As with other releases on the label, there is a lo-fi quality to the recording but again there is a dichotomy to be found in that the sound has moments of clarity that belies such an approach.
Opening with the slightly discordant riff of “Can You Help Me Get My Thai On,” it takes only seconds before my head is nodding along and refrains quickly learned to sing along to the record with. This formula, of easy listening and drawing one in an effortless manner, carries on for each subsequent track, finally arriving at “CN-END,” my highlight of the single which, as the titles hints at, is an attack on what might be considered newsworthy these days along with its delivery to the masses.
Whether intentional or not, this release has a summer feel to it which will always be imprinted in my head, so whenever I listen to it, I’ll be transported to days of warmth and general well-being (despite the fact that it’s been one of the wettest summers on record here in the U.K.) which are the perfect match for all of the songs. Now to purchase the Sundowners album, Gnome and Glacier, for, hopefully, more of the same enjoyable music.
This four song self-titled 7” from the Minneapolis-based Sundowners has lots of jangle, and has nice melodic lines, hints of pop, but with lots of emotional edge so it doesn’t come off sounding too poppy. The tracks come off kind of on the punk end of the indie spectrum, or on the indie end of the punk spectrum, whichever way you want to look at it. It’s edgy without coming off as too punk (is there such a thing?), but also without being silly pop fluff. They got it just right, if you ask me. The musical writing and arranging is really cool. I especially love the guitar embellishments on “Can’t You Help Me Get My Thai On,” the opening track on this little piece o’ vinyl. “Misplaces Mistakes” is a bit more of a hard driving punk track, and “Life After Berf” relaxes it back just a tad. Relaxed is not quite right – they have an easy sound while still sounding intense. Casually intense? “CN-END” has a very similar feel, and the last two songs sort of flow one into the other. The one thing that might be the weak link for Sundowners is the vocals – when there’s only one person singing, it’s OK, but when there’s two or more of them singing together, it’s a little messy, a bit out of key. But, damn, I love this kind of punk music! --Paul Silver