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Sundress EP

(Self-released; US: 16 Aug 2011; UK: import)

Sundress is both perfectly and inadequately named. Their songs do fit loosely, you can feel them sway. The hooks are flowing, sometimes formless. But there’s a shoegaze heft to their sound, a focus on the thunder of the drums and the rattle of bass notes, that makes this seem more than something a slight breeze could take hold of. For such a young band, the Denton outfit has a real knack for texture and layering. From the thick gauze of squalling guitars on “Middle of Here” to the ringing notes and emotive space of “Derelict”, the band covers a lot of sonic ground on this six-song EP. They prove both a muscled rock band and an intricate, lush pop group. The echoing vocals become another instrument in the mix, words pulled on and buried in the mix so they are often impossible to distinguish. And while this makes for another sweet layer, it sometimes keeps the songs from taking the full hold on you they could. Sundress have all the layering of seasoned band—in just over two minutes, the twangy “Bloom” achieves a towering sound most songs twice its length can’t get to—now they just need a voice to come through all that sound, to tell us what it is they want us to know in all this fuzzy noise. If they do that, well, then they’re bound to be huge.


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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