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EP Review: Sundials – Kick


Artist: Sundials
EP: Kick
Tracks: 6
Release Date: November 4th
Label: Topshelf Records

Following up their 2012 album release When I Couldn’t Breathe, ‘nerd rock’ band Sundials, are set to release their new EP, Kick, on November 4th through Topshelf Records. 

Opening the EP with Dealin’, Kick begins with talk of small towns and being stuck in your own way. The lyrics being sung by Sundials’ vocalist, Harris Mendell are honest and don’t beat around the bush, something which is one of the greatest strengths of this EP. Dealin’, whilst not overly interesting from an instrumental perspective, is a real and relatable track to indulge one’s own feelings of being comfortable within your own personal fortress.

Following the EP’s opening track is Splinter. From the very onset of the song, Sundials have managed to create a more interesting introduction than that of Dealin’, with a bass heavy, full-band build up, before swinging back into a more relaxed groove for the delivery of the verse’s lyrics. Splinter still maintains the raw emotive language found on Dealin’ with lines such as “Why I can’t pick myself up” being repeatedly sung, bringing a continuous theme of personal-being and expression to the EP, which is very touching.

Whilst the instrumentation in these first couple of tracks is good, it seems to resemble more-or-less what the rest of the release has to offer in this area. For example, the third track Gained A Grip, still continues to include some very similar chords being repeatedly strummed, with a bassline generally following suit. By this point it already feels as if we’ve heard most of the EP aside from the lyrics, which feels a little disappointing.

However, the breakout track of this EP, Stun Spore, comes after Splinter and adds a little more variety to the release. The vocals take a more prominent position throughout this song in comparison to the others, as fairly large sections of the song include just the bass, drums and vocals. It’s in these parts that you can hear a little more emotion in Mendell’s solo vocals, and there’s a sweetness to his voice that adds authenticity to his lyrics talking about loneliness and the loss of identity. Whilst I prefer the more interesting instrumentation of Splinter’s introduction or the introverted lyrics of Dealin’, the highlighting of the vocals on Stun Spore really makes this song one of my favourites, even if it’s solely due to this one element.

As the title track of the entire EP, Kick doesn’t actually feel like it offers too much special to make it stand out as such. Once again, it’s the raw honesty of the lyrics that make the track, something which Sundials’ music seems to rely heavily on. Song lines such as “…thought about writing a song, jerked off instead…” aren’t messing around. Kick is a track which in many ways does represent the entire EP, it’s self-aware and self-criticising, it’s the inner thoughts of people, which will speak to many listeners and their experiences. It may also sound very stupid, but every time I listen to Kick, I can’t help but feel that the bassline sounds like the bass parts in Charmer by Kings of Leon. I’ll leave that for your own ears to decide, but it made me think of other songs which I found quite distracting. That said though, it’s can be very difficult to have a bassline-heavy track feel completely unique, so it’s understandable.

The final track on the EP, Eugene, continues the trends found in the rest of the songs, keeping similar composition and lyrical integrity at its heart. Although there still isn’t too much experimentation or surprising parts to it.

Kick is an interesting EP to listen to. On the one hand, when I first listened to it, I didn’t think it was anything special. There aren’t really any hugely memorable solos or even riffs. It’s a blend of chord-strumming and similar vocal styles throughout. However, on the other hand though, it’s clear that Sundials’ intentions can’t have ever been to reinvent the wheel so-to-speak. The whole concept of Kick (as far as I understand) seems to be about lyrical honesty. It’s about vocal parts that are emotive and that people can relate to, which is music in its purest form in many ways – a medium of expression and unity of people’s experiences. That’s not to dismiss the composition overall though, it’s still quite catchy and it would definitely be fun to jump around to live, it’s just not anything ground-breaking. There are some elements which I feel are a bit unnecessary such as the use of feedback which can feel a bit generic, but that’s just part of the overall sound, as it is with many other releases of similar genres and as I’ve said, it doesn’t feel as if Sundials are going out of there way to try and do anything particularly unique. It sounds like the group just wanted to make a great record that sounds like a huge number of other records they probably enjoy, and they have. Their feelings are their own, and they’ve pulled off a very established sound well, something which has to be admired in the spirit of loving a particular style.

To find out more about Sundials, you can visit their:

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