July 7, 2014

Bad Suns
Upon first listen, Language and Perspective, the debut album from Los Angeles-based rockers Bad Suns, provides a laser-focused, glossy sound that aligns closely with what’s on the radio today. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This uniform album may help them push through their explosive rise and create real staying power for years to come.

While the single “Cardiac Arrest” has received a lot of attention for its sweet melody and catchy chorus, it’s relatively thin compared to some of the more complex sounds on the rest of the album. The band delivers 11 songs that are homogenous enough to offer a clear direction while still touching on their potential to take risks. “Take My Love” showcases the band’s ability to create dance-friendly tunes with its interesting syncopations. Tracks like “Matthew James” and “We Move Like the Ocean” highlight the latent anthemic nature of the band. The songs have a distinct southern California feel, with their breezy guitars and saccharine harmonies. The album’s consistency makes for an easy listen, as each track drifts pleasantly into the next. While it could be argued that this quartet is playing it safe, it’s actually a pretty smart move for a first album. They can undoubtedly hook audiences with a slightly familiar sound, creating a reliable fan base for their next venture and allowing them the freedom to gamble with a more unconventional sound in the future.

Front man Christo Bowman’s voice occasionally slips into a nasal quality that gets lost in the wash of sound, but overall he carries a strong set of pipes that drive the melodies forward. Yet the lyrics presented indicate a person who isn’t sure of his place in the world. The evenness of the melodies could have afforded Bad Suns more lyrical diversity. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that members range from 19 to 22 years old, and they’re navigating life and love through a youthful perspective. Lines like “Can we pretend, pretend, pretend?” and “Take my love and run, you know I won’t come back” indicate a desire to back away from reality. The lyrics “The spark is gone, what’s wrong with me”, “Maybe I’m simply deluded”, and “Can I hold it down, have I been trying my best?” emphasize a morose kind of uncertainty that is not uncommon for a band in their early twenties. That inherent doubt combined with haunting falsetto overlays creates an unexpected contrast with the clarity of Bowman’s voice and the precision of Miles Morris’s beats.

Though the lyrics reveal a person trying to find himself, Language and Perspective is a solid first album by a band that has every reason to feel confident and secure with their on-trend sound.


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