Today’s Song: Canadian Heartland Rockers The Sarandons Get Introspective with “Sightlines”

The Sarandons © Steph Montani
The Sarandons © Steph Montani
The title track off Toronto band The Sarandons’ debut album, “Sightlines” doesn’t shy away from exploring the past, coming to grips with memory, emotion and the inevitability of the future in the process.
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Stream: “Sightlines” – The Sarandons

How often in life do we really get the chance to go back? Opportunities abound to explore and remember the past, to be sure, but second chances seldom arrive on schedule – if at all.

In a little over three minutes, those hefty themes – heartache and all – are the push and pull at the core of the latest single from the collaborative Toronto music effort that is The Sarandons.

It’s a lofty mountain to climb, and accordingly, “Sightlines” wastes no time, snapping into place and locking in quickly atop a zippy bass groove.

Sightlines - The Sarandons
Sightlines – The Sarandons
Everything that you say
And all the words in the way
Well I see you, I feel you
Always did like to talk
And leave all your doors unlocked
‘Cause I want to believe you so bad

The Sarandons have certainly taken their time (with care) to get to this point. The quintet caps off a decade-and-a-half of creative endeavors among a trio of vocalists (guitarist Dave Suchon, bassist Damian Coleman and keyboard player Edmund Cummings), plus lead guitarist Craig Keeney and drummer Phil Skot.

That’s not to say The Sarandons haven’t been busy – 2021 saw the release of the Outrunning EP, an effort that leaned heavily into open-road guitar punctuated by squalls and swells (fans of The War on Drugs will surely find something to love among the EP’s six tracks).

The Sarandons © Steph Montani
The Sarandons © Steph Montani

And on the band’s debut full-length LP, the goal was similar: Capture the essence of guitar-driven rock in a way designed to “deliver defiant optimism,” while at the same time exploring “melancholia and the strengths of nostalgia.”

Certainly, this isn’t an album or a mission to be taken lightly, not unlike bands committed to the craft of rock n’roll in an age of so much digital noise (think Wild Pink or again, The War on Drugs).

And the sightlines you endure
When looking back
Are the sightlines you obscure
When looking back

The title track is as strong an example of that end goal as any. It boasts compact guitar reminiscent of Albert Hammond Jr.’s solo work, and vocalist Suchon also seemingly follows in the footsteps of Canadian countrymen Wolf Parade – the effect is refreshing and yet ever-so-slightly nostalgic.

The track itself is danceable in a way that calls to mind the best early-aughts rock tracks, tinged with post-punk for good measure.

Everything that you want and anything that you need, it’s all there for you,” Suchon implores.

The concept of ‘sightlines’ recalls the idea of wearing “rose-colored” glasses, so to speak – seeing things only for the best of what they were, with an obscured vision that might cause one to pine for a past love (even in the midst of heartbreak).

The Sarandons © Steph Montani
The Sarandons © Steph Montani

Of the album itself and its heady themes, Suchon said it was inward reflection that took the band – and himself – on the journey to the Sightlines LP.

“Maybe that’s a part of some of the reflection I’ve done over the last year,” Suchon says. “Coming to grips with autonomy. There was definitely something that shook loose in me. Why shouldn’t I be happy and who but me is responsible for creating that happiness? Why shouldn’t everyone be fully realized and find their own path?”

It’s an intoxicating notion – the idea that you can be better tomorrow than you were today (or yesterday), and the idea that heartache and memories can actually lend themselves to a better, brighter future.

Keep a close on the sightlines in front of you – and behind you – The Sarandons seem to say. We’ll be listening closely.

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Stream: “Sightlines” – The Sarandons

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Sightlines - The Sarandons

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