Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Suntrodden - Suntrodden III

Suntrodden - Suntrodden III  

Suntrodden might seem like it's a band. Honestly, the name sounds like a band name. The music even feels like it would be produced by a group of twenty-year old guys. That's because it sounds a lot like the post-prog, dream-pop, shoegaze based stuff that's so popular in certain circles these days. Of course, if it were one of those bands, this project would probably have a name like "Yesterday I Went to the Store" or "I Saw A Dog Walking Down the Street." In any event, this is actually a project of just one guy, Erik Stephansson of Atlanta, Georgia. Yeah, I know, another misconception. You hear "Georgia" and figure you are about to get some country music or Southern rock. This is definitely neither of those.    

The first song, "There's a Place,"  reminds me of some modern progressive rock. It has a trippy kind of element that works really well. "Pure" doesn't gel as well as the first one did. It manages to rock a bit more in some of the later sections, but it's less progressive rock oriented to me.   

Next comes one of the most purely progressive rock oriented things here, "Moonflower." The song has some interesting changes and really works well. It's one of my favorites of the set. The prog elements aren't as prominent on "Never Again." The tune doesn't seem as strong, either. It's a decent song by itself, but doesn't hold up against the rest of the music here, really.   

I make out more of that moody modern prog sound on "The End (Haunt Me)." It is another solid track that works well to drive it to the end. I suppose you can't get much more appropriate than titling the final song, "The End."  

Overall, I think this does best when it strives for that proggy territory and lands in the general vicinity of it. The rest is definitely not bad. It's just not as strong as the prog-based stuff. It's obvious that Stephansson has talent. He also does a great job of seeming like a full band rather than a solo artist. I think that when he gets the most ambitious is when his skill set really shines the brightest. When the music is written closer to a "play it safe" mode, it just doesn't soar quite as high.   

If I were to make another complaint, it would be that Stephanson should work on incorporating a bit more variety into his music. The falsetto vocals that are all over this are fine, but they lend a monolithic feel to the sounds in a lot of time. Using a different vocal style or just including an instrumental to break things up, would go a long way toward creating more variety.   

Similarly, there isn't a lot of change from song to song in terms of pacing or tempo. A really slow tune added in or something that's at a fired up and moving beat set between some of these tunes would really allow it to retain a fresh vibe throughout.    

The thing is, those complaints or just of the "keep it in mind for future work" variety. What we have here works well as is. Sure, there is room for improvement. If there wasn't, it really would be pointless to go on, right? 

Steve Rafferty

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