The impressive aesthetic is one thing. But a more important trait, perhaps, would be the groove, the beat, the ability to make listeners move and feel and really respond. On its sophomore album Soft Fall, Philly electronic pop outfit Sun Airway achieves both.
The album, released yesterday on Dead Oceans, opens with a placid, pulsating synthesizer note that swells and hums, building up alongside a gradual spectral beat. The minute-long scene-setter – one of three “Activity” interludes across the record – then launches fearlessly into lead single “Close,” and the song’s fierce snare drum hits and shaker percussion carry us away. This dramatic entrance is a contrast to the way their 2010 debut Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier began; a supernova of chimes, echo and mystical reverberations on the song “Infinity.” Also kind of dramatic, sure, but that gauzy dream-like vibe never quite let down – it was the sound of that album. So even when songs like “The American West” and “Put The Days” away were, underneath the clouds, kind of upbeat, it was hard to really feel it. On Soft Fall, the fog has lifted and Jon Barthmus is standing there with his musical collaborators, energized, invigorated, ready to go. Continue reading →