Electric Sunset – s/t

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Usually when the name of a band involves something with the word in electric, its usually a signal that there’s going to be far too much electronic flourishes in it, which goes against my new personal disdain for laptop accompanied bands. But, knowing that Electric Sunset was once part of Desolation Wilderness made it easy to get into the self-titled record, as I enjoyed Nic Zwart’s other band, prior to his departure. So why not give the guy a good honest look-see, or listen-see I suppose.

It begins with “Palace,” which does begin in the traditional way as most of the recent chill-wave releases have gone, with that odd sunshine dancing on the keyboard effect, but the one thing that immediately sticks out is the emphasis on the beats.  They’ve got this driving power to them, which leads to more toe-tapping as opposed to annoyance.  To top it off, Zwart’s voice had a depth to it that you might not get from the album cover.

Gentle touches of the electronic elements on “Morning City” make the song much powerful, giving Nic’s voice a little bit more room to roam about, and allowing for a bit of space to creep into the collage of beats and guitars.  Songs such as this, like the majority of Electric Sunset, benefit from the fact that he’s not forcing every little aspect that comes into his mind into his tracks.  He’s leaving a bit of an ambiguity to the song, asking listeners to extract what they want. You’ll see it again immediately afterwards on “Infinity Avenue,” a song that allows the empty space to create a brooding bit of tension, before taking off on a magic carpet of perfect melodies. This one might just make you clap your hands together.

Electric Sunset‘s first single “Soda” really does exemplify everything I’ve enjoyed while listening to this together.  Zwart’s vocals rise really high in the mix, and they’re solid vocals, with what seem to be minimal tonal effects. The song itself has this strong groove that relies upon his electronic work, but once again, it’s not overbearing by any means, even as layer upon layer is placed atop the various elements.  Closing this whole sonic array with a song like “Prayer” reaches out to the audience via the narrator’s reflection of being alone in a new city.  It asks us to identify with our own lives in a way that closely relates to Electric Sunset itself; leave your expectations at the door please, this is a seemingly new adventure.

Perhaps being jaded is not the best attitude to have when approaching electronic music, but perhaps tired sounding redundant recording tricks should be passed on the way side.  That being said, Electric Sunset has given us an electric-fied album that doesn’t resemble every other band out there, giving us lots of empty space for reflection, and great melodies crafted from Nic Zwart’s voice.  At the end of the day, you’ll realize that sometimes music is simply good, no matter where it comes from, or what instruments are utilized.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/electricsunsetsoda.mp3]

Download: Electric Sunset – Soda [MP3]

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