In the middle of an era where people live and breathe music, it is difficult to capture the attention of the public when they are constantly fixated on listening to someone else. Rising out of California, Bad Suns are a victim of this sad truth even with countless tours with artists like Halsey, The 1975 and The Neighbourhood.
Their debut album, 2014’s Language & Perspective, reveals the band’s several elusive layers and introduces us to the sharp, rasp vocals of frontman Christo Bowman. In light of it not resembling typical alternative music, their sound can be difficult to grasp. However, it is the fact that they continue to craft intricate melodies that keep their listeners guessing that makes them so successful. When you hear that your favorite band/artist is releasing something new, the overwhelming excitement masks the fact that you are usually able to envision what you should be expecting. When it comes to a band like Bad Suns, fans will always be on their toes, yet never disappointed in the slightest.
Drumming to their own beat and getting lost in their own sounds is a theme that the band has stuck with, and showcased in the recent release of their sophomore effort, Disappear Here (9/16/2016 via BMG/Vagrant Records). As opposed to Language & Perspective, the band’s new record follows one narrow road that leads straight into the sun. It is indeed a sequel to their previous album in the way that it continues writing the story that briefly ended after Language & Perspective.
The ringing of guitar riffs from Ray Libby, the vivid dynamism between Gavin Bennett and Miles Morris, and the intensity of Bowman’s voice increasing with each passing track as if building on residue is electric. The palpable experience begins with the title track “Disappear Here” and the electricity ceases to fade even after the journey ends.
Watch: “Disappear Here” – Bad Suns
“Heartbreaker” serves as the second track of the album, and is the spitting image of an anthem for a love gone wrong. This harsh reality is covered in glamorously by an upbeat melody, and weighs heavily on the band’s influence by The Cure. As it progresses, the band taps back into a familiar darkness on a personal favorite track from the album, “Love Like Revenge.”. While it is dark and filled with angst, it is also sultry:
Swallow all your fear and try to see
There’s no good in lies you want to believe
Am I happy? No, I’m just distracted
Fill me with hope and my hope collapses
Dizzy and afraid to fall asleep, I wait in silence
I know you know
How bad we both need this
Trust me, we can put the past behind us
Meet me at the place where love once found us
As the journey into the sun ends, “Outskirts of Paradise” rings into the background of a picture-perfect life. There is no escaping the end of the ride, which can be frustrating, but all of that frustration is folded into this single song. Bowman’s howling backed by such blissful melodies marks the perfect beginning to the end, and end to the beginning.
Disappear Here allows its listeners to hear each member of the band as an individual. It highlights their strengths, but is not afraid to shake things up to keep you guessing. As one cohesive project, it is flushed with desire and despair. With each passing song, I felt myself collapsing into every sound as if I were actually going to disappear. It is bound to keep you coming back for more, and questioning what the band has up their sleeves next.
cover photo: Bad Suns © Elliot Lee Hazel