Bad Suns

Language & Perspective

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Southern Californian indie rockers Bad Suns appeared seemingly out of thin air in the spring of 2013 with their incredibly catchy single "Cardiac Arrest." The song's sultry guitars slid over a minimal groove before bubbling over into a sticky sing-song melody on the chorus, which subtly nodded to the sentimentality of '80s goth rock acts like the Cure or bright pop moments from coming-of-age movie soundtracks of the same era. The song was undeniably catchy, and brought Bad Suns enough attention to find them getting involved with bigger tours and eventually signing to Vagrant Records. The label released a four-song EP called Transpose in 2014, kicked off by "Cardiac Arrest" and backed by three less memorable tunes. Debut full-length Language & Perspective also included the song as a highlight, begging the question of whether or not the band can rise to the occasion of turning in a full album or really only have one stellar song in them. Language & Perspective shows Bad Suns as a band with depth beyond one-hit wonder status, and even a little bit of ambition and experimentalism woven into their fairly by-the-books pop sound. "Cardiac Arrest" still stands above most of the other 11 tracks, but a sense of dancefloor-friendly rhythm also graces "Dancing on Quicksand" and the plastic disco sheen and airy falsetto vocals of "Salt." The band sounds most interesting when they step out of their comfort zone somewhat by taking their stylized, pitch-perfect pop into weird places. Less traditional production techniques start to show up with more frequency in the album's second half, with echo processed drums on "Learn to Trust" and washed-out, swimming guitars meeting fuzzy synth tones and electronic drum patterns on "Sleep Paralysis." Presenting a slideshow of moments of calculated catchiness followed by those that show an adventurous side, Bad Suns' debut shows promise for a band that could meet in the middle of these two poles somewhere down the road.

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