Sunset is the love child of Chris Broach and Steve Znavor. Their debut album Turn Out The Lights was officially released April 7th. Broach, known for his work with the ’90s emo band Braid, first connected with Znavor in 2003 to form The Firebird Band. After Braid released a comeback record in 2014 The Firebird Band planned to do the same, but Broach and Znavor resolved to make Turn Out The Lights as a duo instead. A decision we should all be grateful for.
Broach was quoted saying the album is, “about doing something with your life that means something, rather than working yourself to death, or just witting around.” Nowhere does this translate better than in the emo/pop style chosen for Turn Out The Lights.
There are two tonalities that make up Sunset’s sound. One is a bass driven alt-rock groove and the other consists of various pop synth sounds and leads. Both sensibilities trade spotlight in verses while effortlessly intermingling for huge sounding choruses. Vocals and Drums sound significantly compressed giving the record a very glossy sound that plays into some of the album’s dancier tracks like “Pheonix 1986” and “Star Sick”.
To be clear, this is not a disco record. Although the programming can feel reminiscent of ’80s glamour Broach and Znavor make sure to pack an emotional punch. Despite simple phrasing it’s easy to tell each word was hand selected. The very first track “’76-‘78” opens with a crooning, “You know that we/never had to be/always perfect/like anyone else, everyone else”, before lamenting, “a wasted time/we tried it all”, falling back on traditional emo themes like failed relationships.
Broach also quotes, “love and life” as inspirations for the album, however songs like “Maybe We’ve Got It” and “National Monument” speak to broader societal problems. Sunset actually debuted as a band with the music video for “National Monument” back in October of last year. While the video mostly capitalizes on the popularity of the Netflix show Stranger Things, the lyrics take a more serious route to mock large corporations and the short-sightedness of corporate infrastructure.
However, for all its depth Turn Out The Lights suffers from a bit of monotony. Each of the tracks play at the same tempo and Broach employs a subdued vocal style that causes the songs to roll into each other. Both “Remember How It Ends” and “Maybe We’ve Got It” make heavy use of the phrase “see it through” which, although a theme of the record, feels repetitive in execution.
If those sound like minor concerns its because in the grand scheme of this record they are. Turn Out The Lights is everything an emo/pop fan could ask for with some added surprises in the lyrical content and later tracks that provide a unique experience. Sunset’s dynamic duo of Chris Broach and Steve Znavor show their familiarity with the genre on this crafted release.
Indie Pop | Broken World Media