Scottish group, Sunstinger, have released their debut EP titled “Beyond The Frame”: a marvellous four-song collection that, upon first listen, immediately won us over as fans.
The alternative/shoegaze sound that the band have is showcased well throughout as each song displays a slightly different aspect of the band’s character; this allows the four individual songs to be presented to the listener in a way that highlights the charm of each track, whilst also maintaining a coherency throughout the EP that allows Sunstinger to build a recognisable musical identity that listeners can associate them with.
EP opener “Bonnie’s Kaleidoscope” kicks off proceedings with a soundscape introduction that creates intrigue as it invites the listener to pay attention. The vocals quickly begin the lyrical delivery against a backdrop of a dry, punchy bass, with the reverb saved for the guitar and vocal mix; of course there is a healthy dose of fuzz during the chorus sections too.
Following this comes the title track, “Beyond The Frame“, with the intro of this single being conjoined with the outro of the opening song, allowing for a delightful transition. This track continues with the swirling soundscape vibes, almost absorbing the vocals that sit back in the mix; the vocals, in essence, play more of a textural role (rather than taking the spotlight) in this song – it’s obvious why this has been chosen as the title track.
Third song, “Shadows“, brings the energy back with a fuzz-fuelled, guttural sound that – we imagine – captures a more raw, live side of the band; this song must be a particular treat in a live setting. As a knee-jerk reaction we might compare certain aspects of this to the song “She” by Wolf Alice (thanks in part to the driving bass behind both songs). Suffice to say, we love it.
EP-closer, “All My Friends Are High” offers the final twist as, arguably, the most streamlined song: it is the shortest track on the EP at four minutes an seventeen seconds, and the most indie – at times being reminiscent of The Stone Roses, particularly in regards to the vocals. A superb EP closer, this song captures the feeling of nostalgia, euphoria, and even melancholia in one anthemic song: the feeling that comes to mind is that of watching your favourite band headline a festival and playing their final big number; it’s that one last ‘hurrah’ – the bittersweet joy of simultaneously knowing the end is nigh, and yet being engulfed in the moment regardless. As such, Sunstinger have bookended their EP in the best way possible; an achievement that can be incredibly elusive, and yet managed so well by this Scottish quartet.
Discussing the process of writing and recording the EP, Sunstinger reveal: “It was put together very quickly. We went into the studio with about 50 percent of the lyrics and no guitar parts. We actually wrote ‘All My Friends Are High’ at the rehearsal the night before and Scott, our guitarist, hadn’t even heard it until he arrived at the studio the next day. For some reason the process just worked for us. We experimented with a lot of different guitar sounds as we wanted it to sound as loud as possible. We’ve left no space in the songs at all and Magnus was a big part in that too.”
The band then take this further: “It’s the sound we’ve been searching for these last few years. If it was 10 years ago everything before this would have been a learning process towards this EP. And the EP would probably be the first thing released. In this day and age though the way social media works and the way bands can release material it’s like the audience or fans come on the journey from the beginning.”
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