Sundries have titled their forthcoming EP Do You Feel Safe, and will celebrate its release on February 18th with a show at The Sunset. The title isn’t a wry nod to the volatile beginnings of 2017, but nevertheless, the songs’ impassioned cohesiveness paired with divine delicacy of the music is a gift to those feeling tempest-tossed. Do You Feel Safe is gorgeously crafted and forceful at the same time, and there is no doubt that this EP will have lasting impact: you’re going to see this on folks’ “Best Of” lists come December.
The first track, “Bury,” is a perfect example of this dichotomy. Sadie Frank’s voice shivers over a simple guitar arpeggio, singing “Everything I thought that I loved, everything just falls apart,” and then the band comes crashing in, shoving open a sonic door and rolling over the threshold, allowing Frank’s vocal to soar and dip as she becomes accusatory: “You said you’d love me to the end.” The band fiercely supports Frank’s righteous scorn, and it’s fantastic.
“Regret Your Love” starts off with a forcefully played drum riff by Leah Julius. All of the drumming on this EP is, well, forceful, as well as succinct; Julius’ playing is clean, hard-hitting, and commendable. And it’s the perfect driver for “Regret Your Love;” firing it off like a bullet, the rest of the band swirls around the beat, rarely stopping to take a breath.
The EP’s first single, “Say So,” is anchored by a sexy, sinuous bass line courtesy of Ben Lindbloom. “Do you remember when you felt safe? Was that the last time you felt sane?” breathes Frank, as her guitar and Travis Gillett’s push and pull each other only to come to an uneasy musical duet. The lyrics here reinforce that uneasy feeling of a tenuous connection and an impending, unwanted separation. It’s a great choice for a single…give it a few listens and you’ll be singing along in no time at all. “Smoke” brings out a punk edge that races to a sublime finish, the lyric “cracked your sternum, watched you bleed, I wanna breathe you in like smoke” sounding creepy yet alluring at the same time.
The overarching themes across these songs are intense yearning for genuine human love and connection and frustration over the invisible chasms that prevent those relationships from substantiating that need, along with the strength derived from that experience. These are love songs that illustrate the depth and breadth of the emotion, both the beauty and the chaos. Sundries’ sound retains a blues element, but it’s less obvious here than on 2015’s The Wave. The sonic assault is less a wall of sound and more like a shimmering, encompassing galaxy. The stars that Sundries paints are glistening points of light that make us hopeful in the face of the oppressive space that separates us all. The tenuous connections that spark between us is what makes life vital.
Sundries’ release party for Do You Feel Safe is February 18th at The Sunset Tavern, with The Hollers and Golden Idols supporting. You can find tickets here. Meanwhile, please enjoy this exclusive premiere of the video for “Say So,” the EP’s first single.