Jun 03, 2021
By Caleb Campbell
Photography by Micah Sedmak
Chicago art rock outfit Sunjacket took an extended recess from the spotlight following their 2016 record Mantra. Though debuts usually are met with quick follow-ups, Sunjacket is far from typical. Instead, the band has spent the time away toiling over a dense and experimental approach to the sounds of indie rock, synth pop, ambient music, and art rock. These sounds coalesce together on the band’s new record, More Lifelike, out on June 4th.
After the watery ambient tones of the opener “Gates,” fans are welcomed into a thoughtfully crafted world of Sunjacket’s own making. The band crafts dramatic soundscapes of meticulous detail and arresting artistry. Foreboding synth tones and Bryan Kveton’s aching falsetto make for a raw and seductive combination on “In My Head,” bolstered by chopped-up percussion, rushes of melody from Spanish guitar, and a fiery electric guitar solo. Yet elsewhere, the band explores Radiohead-esque art rock on “More Lifelike,” spiraling droning soundscapes on “Uptight,” and pulsating electro rock on “Machine.”
The band rarely repeats an idea on the record, with each new song offering new genre combinations, studio trickery, or engrossing ear-candy production. It’s an exploratory approach that easily blurs genre lines and constantly traverses new unfamiliar territory for the band.
Sunjacket says of the record, “In making this album, so much of our energy went into exploration. Exploring new chords and progressions, new ways to generate melodies, new ways to collaborate and write as a trio, new ways to stitch together disparate influences, new ways to make sounds we were excited about. We never stopped learning and spent very little time in familiar territory. When we weren’t exploring, we were analyzing everything: how we felt about the songs, ourselves, the world, creativity, worry, doubt, loss. The record title More Lifelike stems from a purgatorial pursuit of something better, of something more. It can feel like an impossible chase, but it’s sort of our M.O. as a band.”
Check out the full record below, premiering a day early with Under the Radar.