The fast-paced ebb and flow of the proverbial ‘London Scene’ (which is in itself a meaningless marketing construction) provokes frustration amongst those who try to follow it. Some artists seem to come and go like the wind, promising to blow up, before fading into obscurity almost immediately; whereas others, producing sounds that seem to be very much ‘of the moment’, turn out to have an unexpected longevity.
It is with sincerity that I say that I hope SUNKEN fall into this latter category. There seems to be something of a renaissance in preposterously laid-back soul-jazz in London at the moment, with a variety of musicians such as Puma Blue blending intimate Chet-Baker-esque vocals and complex harmonies with a more contemporary rhythmic approach. ‘Swoon’ is very much a record cut from this cloth, using a minimalist approach towards guitar-work to tastefully adorn a tensely pretty melody. Indeed ‘Swoon’ functions on the well-established principle of tension vs release: the verses craftily induce anxiety with dissonant harmony and stop-start rhythms before launching into a deliciously sexual chorus groove. Production is superb, with extreme attention to detail on display. Particularly satisfying is the ‘staggering’ effect, produced by overlapping consecutive guitar and vocal lines in the second chorus – one even wonders if this little easter-egg refers back to the title of the track itself.
Somewhat ambiguous lyricism takes a supporting role to high quality musicianship here; yet the poetry serves its function admirably, conjuring appropriate sensations of longing that provide companionship to the wistful melodic lines of the chorus. The feeling is very much that ‘Swoon’ is all about a vibe rather than a story, and that’s no bad thing when the vibe is as exquisite as what’s on show here.
SUNKEN will be playing the following upcoming dates in London:
July 5th – Shacklewell Arms
July 7th – Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen
July 15th – The Windmill
July 27th – The Three Wheel Drive Festival
Find SUNKEN on Facebook.