BY LEGACY JYNN
Two years after birthing a successful debut album ‘Language & Perspective’, indie-rock quartet BAD SUNS - Christo Bowman (Vocals/Guitar), Gavin Bennett (Bass), Miles Kottak (Drums) and Ray Libby (Guitar) - are back with their sophomore release ‘Disappear Here’. Hailing from Southern California, listen close enough and you’ll hear the city reflect itself in each of these 13 tracks. The overarching theme appears to be a mixture of a self-identity ‘who am I?” crisis, midst the added confusion of falling in and out of love. Think of the album as an endless Los Angeles summer mixed with the tail-end of a cotton candy sunset and a little bit of heartbreak to its name.
‘Disappear Here’ kicks off with two of the earliest released singles through which the band decided to reveal its newest musical era - ‘Disappear Here’ and ‘Heartbreaker.’ Arguably, both could easily find a comfortable spot and disguise themselves as songs off of ‘Language & Perspective.’ The title track dabbles with a relationship built on pent up confusion based on which direction it is headed, as the chorus asks, “Would you run after me? / Or do we disappear here?”. The follow up track, ‘Heartbreaker’, lands itself as, hands down, the catchiest song on the album.
Slower ballads such as ‘Defeated’ and ‘Maybe We’re Meant To Be Alone’ give needed contrast to the album’s upbeat consistency. These two tunes are slightly melancholic in rhythm and melodic construction, but even more so in lyric. Full of sweet and smooth falsetto, ‘Defeated’ is a tale of regret and desperado, almost as cry for help; sonically cognitive in style to The Police. ‘Maybe We’re Meant To Be Alone’ plays along with the album’s theme of inner confusion and doubt surrounding the ability to fall in love. Consider it a tune for the modern day hopeless romantic.
‘Even In My Dreams, I Can’t Win’ falls amongst a track that demands to be heard. In classic Bad Suns vibe, the repeating guitar riff and drums/surrounding percussion launch the song to its fullest potential as one of the strongest hitting songs on the album. It also acts as a tasteful save that puts the tracklist back on its groove from the two slower songs that come before it.
Back to sweet, sweet Californian vibes, ‘Violet’ is a nostalgic track about the honeymoon stages of young love. Similarly, the album comes to a close with ‘Outskirt Of Paradise’, reminiscent of summertime and the beach weather breeze in the dog days of a July day. Gavin Bennett’s bassline contributes fully and carries the track from its beginning to end.
Though some tracks appeared slightly predictable in sound, ‘Disappear Here’ is proof that Bad Suns have remained consistent in creating danceable, groovy tunes - all of which are perfect for helping wind down the summer. Although the album’s catchy guitar riffs were prevalent, without doubt, I do wish to have heard more emphasis on guitar solos to break up the typical verse/chorus/verse/bridge structure.
At a first listen, you’ll know in an instant that what you’re listening to is something intricately created and curated by the Bad Suns. The core of any Bad Suns record is Christo Bowman’s ability to belt lyrics that hit straight to an audience’s chest and the support from the groovy, sonically aesthetic instrumentals behind the voice. This album does not fall short by any means and proves that disappointment isn’t in sight for any future Bad Suns projects. It’s sweet, dabbles in life’s bitter end, but is ultimately tasteful.
So call up some friends, hop in your ride, roll the windows down and just drive. ‘Disappear Here’ will do the rest.