My Sad Captains' fourth LP follows the first overhaul of their lineup, with guitarist Leon Dufficy and drummer Ben Walker taking over for founding members Nick Goss and Jim Wallis, respectively. Appropriately titled Sun Bridge, it preserves the band's distinct version of hypnotic pop. If anything, the album is more reflective and expansive, lingering in warmth and the interplay of light and refraction instead of always pressing toward choruses. Sun Bridge was mixed by Jeff Zeigler, whose studio résumé notably includes such bands as the War on Drugs and A Sunny Day in Glasgow. Inspiring allusions to the environment isn't by accident, with tracks carrying titles like "New Sun," "Wintersweet," and "Early Rivers." The latter is an instrumental that opens the album with slow arpeggiation under a meditative swirl of sustained, pitch-bending electronics. Ambient soundscapes give way to melodic and rhythmically infectious if still restrained songs like "Everything at the End of Everything," which plays like a track off an imagined dream pop version of New Order's Power, Corruption & Lies. Later, the more acoustic-leaning "Don't Listen to Your Heart" is pure classic pop songcraft, while "Wintersweet" is another instrumental that indulges texture and subtle shifts. Some songs combine both of these tendencies, like the eight-minute "Destination Memory," whose sauntering electric guitar lines, sustained string voices, and atmospheric synths sound more mechanical than organic but are nonetheless reminiscent of '60s folk-pop once intimate, tightly harmonized voices enter. Elegantly sculpted throughout, it's a record for deep contemplation that rewards repeat listens yet still offers instant gratification.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson