Disappear Here

Bad Suns

(LP - Vagrant #77577)

Review by James Christopher Monger

The L.A.-based band's much anticipated sophomore LP, Disappear Here picks right up where 2014's Language & Perspective left off, delivering another summery blast of windows-down guitar and synth pop with a post-punk twist. That hint of despondency, which is sprinkled evenly throughout the record's just over 45-minute running time, suggests formative years spent studying under the tutelage of professors Robert Smith and Steven Patrick Morrissey, but Bad Suns' predilection toward mopiness only ever manifests lyrically. That contrast helps to spark some life into the album's less immediate moments, of which there are more than a few, but as evidenced by the success of 2014's earworm-laden "Cardiac Arrest," Bad Suns are essentially a singles band, and Disappear Here, like its equally hit-or-miss predecessor, doesn't disappoint. Utilizing the old-school industry template of front-loading, the one-two punch of the driving title track and its bouncy, hook-filled successor "Heartbreaker" -- the latter is the first of a handful of peppy cuts that invoke the dancefloor snap of the Cure's "Close to Me" -- sets an unfair pace. Both songs deliver everything that "Cardiac Arrest" fans could have hoped for, which leaves the treacly "Off She Goes" and the forgettable "Love Like Revenge" feeling a bit like afterthoughts. Things pick up a bit on the very Smiths-sounding -- in title only -- "Even in My Dreams, I Can't Win" and the bubbly "Daft Pretty Boys," and the band's natural affability means that there's nothing on Disappear Here that ever feels like a chore. That said, there's something fleeting about the whole endeavor. In the era of big heartfelt pop songs in search of little moments, Bad Suns have proven themselves to be crafty and capable confectioners, but as is the case with most sweets, it's best experienced in small doses.

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