Ian Hilvert (vocals/guitar), CJ Eliasen (drums), Carolynn Colvin (keys) and Kyle Hummer (drums) are SUNGAZE. Even though their setup is similar to that of The Doors (keyboardist instead of bassist) they don’t sound anything like them. The impressive four-song EP they released The Rapids tips its hat to psych, prog and garage rock.
The Rapids is a complete DIY production made on low budget consumer gear and even though the songs don’t sound like they were recorded at a professional studio it still sounds better than a run of the mill demo. You can clearly hear the snare, which tends to be an issue with DIY recording and the vocal were treated well. The low-end could have been more defined at times but certainly not something I would consider muddy.
If you enjoy bands like Tame Impala and Of Montreal, SUNGAZE should be right up your alley. A lot of the songs felt in line with Lonerism by Tame Impala, which in my opinion still happens to be their best album. First up is “One Day” which is a great song overall. I loved the drumming and energy, which feels like it's constantly moving forward. On top of that the vocal harmonies and lead hit the mark. Seventies inspired double lead guitar makes itself know a little after the two-minute mark.
Somewhere between Of Montreal, Tame Impala and The Strokes is where the song “Into The Flowers” resides. It’s an upbeat, fun song with a killer bass line and just well crafted from bottom to top. “A Different Time” rides a constant high wave that doesn't have any lulls while the closer “Can’t Make Me” takes its cues from psych and felt like the track that came closest to sounding like it was from the 70’s.
From what I know The Rapids is the first release from SUNGAZE. The band definitely has some chemistry and some serious songwriting chops. That being said prog/psych revivalists are more popular than ever. The band will definitely want to focus on establishing their own sound a bit more and throw something in there to separate them from the 70’s psych revivalist that sprung up after Tame Impala exploded.
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