Stateside sextet A Sunny Day In Glasgow returns with a third album proper, ‘Sea When Absent’, on August 11th (via Lefse). Those familiar with the band’s previous form – LPs ‘Scribble Mural Comic Journal’ (2007) and ‘Ashes Grammar’ (2009) will have some idea of what to expect.
For newcomers: theirs is a very refined ambience, an enveloping landscape of shifting indie tones, sometimes exploding into Arcade-Fire-when-they-were-good outbursts of peaking power, and star-gaze ripples, both strangely vaporous and tangibly memorable. Like Broken Social Scene channelling Cocteau Twins on more than one occasion.
Or, just have a listen to the songs below and decide for yourself whether you’ll take a punt on the LP next month. After the streams, members of the band assess the latest singles. It’s nice to be nice, isn’t it.
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Charli XCX – ‘Boom Clap’
“I’m not super familiar with Charlie XCX besides that she wrote that ‘I don’t care’ song for Icona Pop (‘I Love It’). ‘Boom Clap’ kinda reminds me of that song. Both songs are wonderfully dumb, in the way some of the greatest modern pop songs are, from ‘Call Me Maybe’ to Andrew WK’s ‘Party Hard’. ‘Boom Clap’ is undeniably catchy, the song consisting pretty much entirely of the chorus – I cannot remember the melody of the brief verses a minute after hearing them, but I’m pretty sure the chorus is going to be stuck in my head for the rest of the summer.” Ryan Newmyer (bass)
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Zulu Winter – ‘Feel Love’
“‘How does it feel to feel love?’ As my brain is currently a bit of an emotional desert, I can’t totally relate lyrically, but I’m sure anyone who isn’t living in a van can. Aside from that, big drums and synths are my jam. Also, is it just me or does this chorus get way U2-y all of a sudden? Because I love some U2. The chorus to this song could also be on some outtake from ‘Zooropa’, which I hated when it came out, but have grown to love since I am no longer a stupid teenager.” Josh Meakim (guitars, keys, vocals)
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Gruff Rhys – ‘Liberty (Is Where We'll Be)’
“Baroque/electronic pop music hybrids really hit my pleasure centre like nothing else, and this track is no exception. The string arrangements are wonderful and the songwriting is expert. I’ve always meant to spend more time with the Super Furry Animals/Gruff Rhys oeuvre and after listening to this song a handful of times, I’m very excited to start.” RN
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Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘Come To’
“I’m really digging the bass on this one. So warm and subtlety funky… So much fun! I like the breakdown around 1:35, too. Something about the singer’s phrasing reminds me of Björk. In fact, this whole song kinda has a fun Sugarcubes vibe. I feel like the ideal listening conditions for this song would be at a party when you get the perfect amount of drunk and reflect wistfully on how much you love your friends.” RN
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Honeyblood – ‘Super Rat’
“So, I’m guessing this song is not actually about a giant rat as I had hoped. This would be a good time to warn everyone reading this to avoid mistreating musicians. They will probably write a song about it, and all your friends will hear it. That being said, Honeyblood’s ‘Super Rat’ – still a rad title – reminds me of a stonier Japandroids fronted by Tanya Donnelly. I don’t say this because of the whole two-piece thing, but there are similarly chiming guitar tones happening, and they play those pretty/moody chords that I forget the name of because I have gotten older and lazy and have forgotten all that guitar stuff I learned. Thumbs up.” JM
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La Roux – ‘Uptight Downtown’
“Have you ever seen Streets Of Fire? It’s one of my favourite films; a gritty musical directed by Walter Hill, who directed The Warriors, and starring a super young badass Diane Lane, with music by Jim Steinman. Diane Lane’s character fronts this super-tough new wave band and they have all the best songs in the film. This tune would fit in perfectly. The decaying synth stabs on this tune are great and I love the abrupt ending. ABBA circa ‘Voulez-Vous’ and ‘The Visitors’, aka their best era, would be proud.” RN
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Jamie T – ‘Don’t You Find’
“So with all this fancy technology at our fingertips, it seems like the singer songwriter thing is just going in this dark heavy electronic direction, which I am totally okay with. Laidback vocals with loud-quiet dynamics, and some cooing female vocals. Also, if you’re one dude with guitars and synths you’re going to make so much money on tour. More please.” JM
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Photo: Zoe Jet Ellis
A Sunny Day In Glasgow are online here.
Related: more guest-reviewed singles columns