Is it possible to put even more desperation into songs?
The five Belgians of Sundays have cut out a 4-song EP with „Free At Loss“, which really moves. Unlike on their former LP they show less of their Hardcore-Punk but more of their Post-Hardcore side. How do you differentiate between these both, you ask yourself? It’s quite impossible, at least regarding Sundays, who show that genres are equal when it comes to expressing emotions.
Not only the way of screaming, but also the instrumentation and the way of songwriting are reminiscent of Defeater. That’s probably because none other than Jay Maas, founding member of Defeater and producer for bands like Death Of A Nation and Verse, sat here at the controls. But compared enough. Sundays don’t deserve that.
The album title Free At Loss (maybe a reference to Free At Last of Youth Of Today) and the pun hidden in it suggest that the songs tell us about different moments of loss and letting go, which can also have a liberating effect. A voice that goes through and through screams out thoughts that range from finding the meaning of life, over family tragedies to feeling lost. Gloomy and sad, depressed. The tracks are thought-out, without seeming that way, and have a moving dramaturgy.
Immediately with the first song Impressions Of An Empire Sundays pull us into their world of resignation, anger and despair. After the feedback squealing in the background has dissipated, a thunderstorm brews on the front – out of worn guitar riffs on which a voice lays its resignation: „There is no light at the end of the tunnel / It’s just stories beautiful bedtime stories / for us to fall asleep“.
The very moment you think you can not receive more of that energy, Sundays seize you by the collar with a rhythm and tempo change and pull you in even more. A dream of a melodic hardcore song!
Vocalist Bert Vandaele is also shouting his soul out during the next three songs. In Fading Out he shows his full voice spectrum – from spoken words to screaming. Just as impressive as the vocals are the guitars that really pierce your marrow and bones. Voice and guitars sway each other high, creating a chaos of tunes that sounds sort of orderly – like someone trying to get hold of it.
And then: These drums! In some places they merge so hard with the guitar attacks that it is difficult to say where the drums stop and the guitars begin. The result is an incredible wall of beats. One might suspect that some sticks or drumheads had to bite the dust during the recordings. At least they had to suffer, as did the protagonist. Between drums and vocals the dissonant but razor-sharp guitars, that support the broken voice of Vandaele, drift.
A beautifully tragic melody carries us through Black Ponds, without sounding cheesy. And here, too, in Defeater style, the suspense is built up thrillingly, in order to take it out in the middle, and to finally crack all the more into the drumheads, strings and ears. Drumrolls, drum punches, stopped chords and strummed through riffs: It seems like Sundays would play through every emotion with their instruments. The songs on Free At Loss not least sound even fatter because of the shoutings in the background here and there.
And then there is „One of them“! Starting with an powerful enlightment: „Breathe! Think! Live!“, changing into nervous heartbeats, thoughts, and a desperate ride. Like the protagonist standing there, wondering what happened to him and his life, this song catches you and leaves you standing there – overwhelmed.
It is impressive how much the mixing influences the effect of music. Unlike the previous album, Free At Loss plays in a different league. The EP sounds technically sophisticated, without being overproduced. It holds the raw energy of Punk, the „Thump“ of Hardcore and the noise and emotions of Post-Hardcore. A liberation for all three genres and a for lot of emotions!
- Impressions Of An Empire
- Fading Out
- Black Ponds
- One Of Them