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Sunglasses EP

(Lefse; US: 16 Jun 2010; UK: Import)

Samuel Cooper and Brady Keehn, the duo that make up Sunglasses, met in college and formed a band in hopes of meshing Cooper’s love of pop music with Keehn’s obsession with intricate, heavy beats. This, their first EP, gives us a brief—too brief, really—introduction to that marriage in sound. There are moments that might make you think these guys are onto something, particularly the squall of synthesizers, found sounds, and lean programmed percussion that leads into “Stand Fast”. The end of “Referee” inverts that formula by stripping away all the bubbly, new-wave synthesizers that fill most of the song to slide into the EP’s tightest, most propulsive beat. But the only fully formed statement on the EP comes in opener “Whiplash”, where Keehn provides a downright grimy beat undercutting synth hooks and cleverly layered squeals and clanging. It’s catchy and original, and shows what these guys can do at their best. But the EP doesn’t give us, or them, enough time to see if that lightning can strike twice. Around these three tracks are found-pieces—of birds chirping, trains arriving, etc.—that not only don’t fit with the lush, thumping music around them, but don’t really do anything but take up space on an already short document. Sunglasses may very well have the potential to become an excellent, inventive musical collaboration, but we’ll need to hear a bit more before that’s decided.


Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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