Sunstack Jones sound like summer, even when listening in winter- and I like them for it. Their sound strings together the positive power of a number of genres; I hear bits of beach, elements of shoegaze, twangs of country, pieces of jangle pop – and it comes together with a rewarding warmth.
Their latest EP ‘Days Stand Still’ was recorded in Autumn 2016 and consists of six tracks which are joined in their acoustic skill and distinct, lo-fi harmonies.
The first track It Ain’t Easy opens on an upbeat acoustic note; with stand-out melodies and an effective interplay of drums reminding me a little of The Byrds. Softly muffled vocals add to the reflective, relaxed feel, with the lyrics “but I’m gonna get by” casting a mood of optimism over the EP.
Stations then follows with a different element of depth; echoing notes and chord patterns reflecting some possible shoegaze influences. Like the symbolic setting of a ‘station’ this is a suggestive track of waiting, of longing, topped with the intensity of a hi-hat.
The title track Days Stand Still lingers with its layers of acoustic and more prominent vocals, telling of the pleasures of just taking in and witnessing the everyday. The repeated refrain of “sometimes my mind drifts to you” adds to the beach-inspired feel of the EP – feeding into the lingering imagery of summer. This is a short but satisfying track, subtly romantic with a clean finish.
Even though they do short tracks well, that isn’t to imply that Sunstack Jones cannot deal with depth. Tibidabo is an exultant soundscape, praising the ‘new sun’ of the morning and also an apparent tribute to the mountain itself which overlooks Barcelona. It is a blissful track which tells of fond experience; one of my favourites.
The EP as a whole maintains its praise for life’s varied experiences, learning from the incidental as well as the monumental. Initially slower paced Walking in our Sleep shows the band’s ability to maintain attention to detail too. With distinct harmonies and the lyrical progression of end-rhyme ‘sleep’ deep’ ‘keep’, although this seems initially repetitive, it is part of an overall craft which lulls the listener with a lullaby effect.
Continuing with the ability to be evocative, Always Something Up closes the EP, the informal lyrics very much of our generation, yet the sound steeped in the power of the past. Jangly guitar combinations speak of 60s vibes, even a reminder of The Beach Boys, with a tambourine trilling at the end, reminding us of sun-kissed days gone-by but never forgotten.
Sunstack Jones’ latest EP ‘Days Stand Still’ is out now, available on 10″ vinyl through Brass Button Records here. Or alternatively on digital download, via Mammoth Bell Recording Co, purchase on iTunes here.