• Sat, Jun 25, 2022
Reviews

Sunnieth Takes A Delightful Left Turn With His Dreamy New EP

9.5

album Reviews Mar 31, 04:14pm

‘Hymns For The Drunk’ is beautiful in every sense of the term

Please stop putting musicians in boxes. We all know Sunnieth Revankar from his work with Bhayanak Maut, Undying Inc. and the like (think Limit Zero; if you know you know). His new EP ‘Hymns For The Drunk’ is not even close to that stuff, but it’s wonderful nevertheless. It’s something of a challenge to explore the genre he chooses here (which is indie-folk, by the way) without sounding lazy or hollow, but he absolutely does. There’s real, stark beauty on this thing; songs that are fit for a very particular mood. Many artists try to nail this down and fail in predictable ways. This is, however, rather sublime.

The sound of this EP is characterized by quiet. While, yes, guitars are its melodic and rhythmic backbone, the overall feeling is an introverted one. This isn’t music that goes out and tries to catch you with a hook of some sort, but lets you in and invites you to enjoy it in your own time. The mix has more layers than one would think and thus ends up being more warm and full than sparse and monochrome, but of course, what carries it is Sunneith’s voice. It’s aged wonderfully over the years, and it’s arguably at its fullest and best on this EP. There’s only about fourteen minutes of music on this thing, but it takes full advantage of the time it’s given.

Things start off with a synth-backed little tune, ‘Killarney Deep’. The synths themselves are something out of a Vangelis soundtrack, and the chords are bonkers good. Sunneith calls this EP some of the most honest writing he’s ever done, and he paints a picture of a world going up in flames as he watches it. Writing about his lyrics seems like something of a disservice given how well he does the job himself, but the material here is largely contemplative and quite poetic. ‘Football Season Is Over’ is a classic indie song, with sparkly acoustic guitars and some truly awesome vocal melodies. AN electric guitar provides a nice counterpoint, and the hummed refrain is a wonderful thing to sing along to while you’re feeling down. As perverse as that sounds, that really is what this album does, which is provide emotional release. ‘Roju’ and ‘Splitshine Strawberries’ live in the same space but somehow up the emotional quotient. The former is a bit of a shy song which has a lovely sunrise of sorts about a third of the way in, while the latter is far more wistful (and maybe even a bit psychedelic?) and, well, sad. The EP bookends itself with the title track which is something of a continuation of the first song. It’s the true emotional high point of it all, and it’ll leave you with that numb feeling we all love.

It's not often we get to have such an interesting experience on such a short release. ‘Hymns For The Drunk’ has all the trappings of a regular ol’ indie EP, and it’s very easy to get lost in the weeds of its simple sounds. But it has something not a lot of music made this way does, and that is heart. Sunneith isn’t just making acoustic material to sound sad or peddle some sort of self-serving narrative. As he says, he’s being honest, and that’s why this thing even works in the first place. And it works stunningly, heartbreakingly well.

 

Listen here.

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