Sun June are a 5-piece band from Austin, TX that play that sort of slow, melodic, country-tinged pop that Austin does so well. Obvious comparisons are Knife In the Water, American Analog Set, and Hitchhike. Somewhere is their second album.
It kicks off with a keyboard drone and Laura Colwell's breathy, high-pitched vocals in Bad With Time. A drum kicks in, then layers of chiming guitar, and the song grooves forward happily, a bouncy riff and those breathy vocals.
Guitarists Michael Bain and Stephen Salisbury really shine on Everything I Had, there the guitars entwine in layers around Colwell’s voice. She actually gets a little forceful, bellowing out the chorus towards the end of the song. But those guitars ... wonderful interplay between the two of them.
Singing is almost a gospel or country song, i think. It is about hearing someone singing in a parking lot on Sunday morning, which seems country to me. But Colwell's voice carries a bit of vibrato, and she bellows out the chorus with a hint of richness. It's pretty.
Sun June channel Knife in the Water on Bad Girl, which starts slowly with the rhythm section of drummer Sarah Schulz and bassist Justin Harris playing a lethargic beat. The guitars chime in, and Colwell sings slowly, hushed, barely above a whisper. But then, on the chorus, the song sparkles and the guitars tinkle and Colwell's voice shines. Lovely. This might be my favorite on the album.
The next song is about seeing Karen O live during a depressing time in Colwell's life. Or, at least, she sings about it slowly, with a breathy slowness that seems depressed to me. But the band plays a catchy tune around her, the guitars really nice.
Everywhere is another stand out track. It starts hesitantly, the guitars strumming and Colwell singing, then everything kicks in with a forcefulness, and it drives forward. It gets nicely loud, Colwell bellowing "Girl, you're everywhere!" as the guitars chime a descending riff and the rhythm swings along. Wonderful.
Sun June perform one of their slowest, most hesitant songs next. It's called Once in a While, and it is all breathy vocals faint drums, droning keys, and light guitar. It's okay, but she draws out the hushed chorus a bit too much, which destroys the momentum of the song each time it comes to a chorus. On the other hand, i like the end part where Sun June add in a tambourine for some shaking percussion goodness.
Drums click and the bass thunks deeply in a way that reminds me of late 1980s roots rock (if you can recall that genre) on Finding Out. This song carries a bit of melancholy in the guitar, but i love that clicking rhythm.
Seasons has a nice, slow, loping beat to it. The drums meander slowly and the guitars weave around it. It's a nice effect, and i find myself wanted to sway along to this song as i listen to it.
Real Thing starts with picked guitar and voice, which gives it kind of a folk rock intro. But then the whole band comes in and the song shimmers nicely.
And finally we wrap up the record with Colors, another guitar and voice intro, but there is a faint tape hiss here that makes the song seem lo-fi, like a demo Colwell and Salisbury recorded at home, then layered in the rest of the band. There is a great guitar part here, something droning and akin to pedal steel. But this is a slow, melancholy tune to end the record.
And i love this record. It has been the album i have listened to the most during the first 5 months of 2021. There is a lot of beauty here.
Now, hopefully Sun June will go on tour once concerts are allowed to happen again, because i would like to hear them play these songs live.