Sun June

(LP - Run for Cover Records #0803751)

Review by Marcy Donelson

With the feather-light vocals, sustained keyboard hum, and unadorned kick drum that open Somewhere, Sun June seem to pick up right where their stark and gentle 2018 debut, Years, left off. As it progresses, however, the sophomore album ventures into more-fully arranged, five-piece territory -- potentially six with the touches of synths and percussion by producer Danny Reisch -- a benchmark that wasn't reached on a debut recorded while some members were still learning their instruments. The group was started by two film crew members in Austin in 2017, including pensive singer Laura Colwell, who plays guitar here for the first time. That opening track, "Bad with Time," sets the stage for 40 minutes of deeply reflective, self-examining, yearning songs, with lyrics like, "I didn’t mean what I said/But I wanted you/Or thought I did." It eventually adds churning eighth notes on guitar and bass, snare on two and four, and dashes of piano, keys, and soft-spoken lead guitar to the arrangement. The relatively brighter "Everything I Had" ("I want back") relies more heavily on soft keys and string voices, while "Everywhere" takes an assertive turn, crying out where much of the album struggles to look its subject in the eye. Even still, muffled drums and hazy synths are part of that track's design. In contrast, final song "Colors" is a mumbled whisper of acoustic guitar, light piano, keyboard atmosphere, and sometimes-harmonized vocals that dejectedly ask "Is it what you wanted? Is it?" From its opening gossamer notes to the plaintive, minimalist closer, Somewhere maintains Sun June's distinctly aching, intimate form, even through denser sections, floating by like a distracting memory.