All We Are

Sunny Hills

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over Sunny Hills, the sophomore LP from Norwegian-Brazilian-Irish-by-way-of-Liverpool indie pop trio All We Are. The pastel-hued dream pop and slick synth R&B of their 2015 debut have given way to a more cathartic post-punk sound that the band attributes to the underlying anxieties and general displacement of 2017's social climate. Tapping into the global emotional zeitgeist, but reaching for a place of optimism, All We Are stretch out on opener "Burn It All Out," a darkly grooving new wave opus urging listeners to stay steadfast and bust through the gloom with lines like "all your worries inside, all the panic within you, burn it all out, stop the cold dark tide." The themes of breaking out and rising up continue on "Human" and "Animal," a purgative yin-yang pair concerned with the deeply rooted conditions of being. While the amber glow of the band's previous chillwave-oriented outing may have dimmed considerably, Sunny Hills is certainly not bereft of heart or emotion. Yes, All We Are feel measurably colder and angrier, but there is an obvious passion for life fueling their Motorik riffs and churning rhythms. The spacy, bright grooves of stand-out cut "Dance" are at once buoyant and earthbound, anchored by the heaviness of bassist Guro Gikling and drummer Richard O'Flynn (who also share lead vocal duties throughout) while guitarist Luis Santos sends his weirdly shimmering riffs skyward. At times, the band's obvious affection for moody, Joy Division-esque post-punk feels a little too heavy-handed, but amid their ongoing sonic evolution there's some solid songwriting.

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