Established in the fall of 2016 in Tilburg, Netherlands, Always the Sun bills themselves as a “five-piece new wave outfit.” Their untitled EP was released in February 2017 and features four songs, all recorded in the personal studio of lead singer Mano Gitz. The band takes its name from the 1986 song of the same name from English new wave band The Stranglers with its lyrics posted on the official band’s website.
The album achieves the new wave, post punk vibe easily, and quickly had me having flashbacks of hairspray and black eyeliner. The overall sound is reminiscent of The Cure with definite notes of The Smiths lingering in the background. The sometimes simplistic, almost nonsensical lyrics set to an equal mixture of instrumental and electronic sound had a Radiohead-esque tone.
The first song “Unfinished Business” has an instrumental intro that is a little over a minute long. It immediately had me excited for the album with a calming mix of guitar and bass. I have to admit that the vocals were a little off-putting at first.
They seemed out of place and almost too dramatic for the calming sound of the instrumental backing. But I soon eased into it, and after a while, even when Gitz’s vocals became intense and desperate, I was digging the overall result. The whole song dripped of angst and regret and featured a really decent guitar solo by Vins van Loon towards the end. I was wanting more at this point.
“Coming Home” started with a more electronic vibe and Wendy Victoria on synths definitely stood out. The otherworldly feeling fades into a very catching beat, thanks to Jurgen van Raak on drums. You slowly sink into this song and it gently drifts with you. When the vocals start, they are much more emotionally charged than the first song. The electronic feel comes back towards the end and it is a perfect blend of guitar and rhythmic synths.
“Racing Forward, Lunatic” has a solid rock sound. With a much more monotonic vocal, the simplistic phrases drawn together in a haunting way reminded me of Radiohead’s “Talk Show Host.” Martijn Broeders on bass really shines on this track and his deep melodies really gave this song body. The slow steady build into a loud climatic section really had me grooving. There were some perplexing background vocals towards the end that I really felt were distracting and unnecessary, but overall this song was just dark enough to stand out from the rest in a really good way. '
“Easy Way In, Easy Way Out” was my favorite track on the album. It really felt like the band spent the first three songs finding their sound and “Easy Way In, Easy Way Out” was the result. The vocals are melodic and more complex, helping the music to surround and envelope you. I found myself closing my eyes and swaying the first time I heard it, which brought me to my “A-ha, The Smiths!” moment. I felt like all the other songs were pushing me towards that comparison, but didn’t quite get me there until this one. It was a perfect ending song to this album; one of those songs you can see your teenage-self listening to while having an epic life changing moment.
This debut EP from Always the Sun is bold and unique. I haven’t heard anything quite like it recently. I found that the more times I listened to it, the more I wished there were more tracks. I look forward to the evolution of their sound and future albums.
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