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Music Review: The Sun-Ups – The View From Above

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Serious indie/alternative music is based on exploring the intricacies of misery. Can you imagine Radiohead singing about going out for a day and just having fun with a friend? No chance. The Sun-Ups are not afraid to be happy and not afraid to be sad but they do it with an overloaded appreciation for melody and harmonies that makes every song a helping of pop gloriousness.

To add to the contradictions of time and place, The Sun-Ups are from Seattle, the home of grunge. Their distinctive sound is generated by the female vocal interplay and harmonies of Lucinda Kruy and Brandy Foltz while the musical backing is some powerful guitar work. Genuine power pop with the emphasis on pop.

This is the sort of music that Blondie promised and sometimes delivered — a true blending of the melodic female voice with rock music. Parts of the verse of "Going West" remind me of "You're So Vain" but with the sort of guitar backing that Carly Simon would never have had. "Your Face Will Freeze Like That" is punk in a 1977 way — people forget about bands like Penetration that talked about real life with energetic guitar and anthemic melodies. Going even further back, "Head Full Of Worry" has similarities to Curved Air in the 1970s particularly in the vocals.

The Sun-Ups take from 30 years of musical history and find the upbeat melodies. There is a timeless, classic feel to the music that will make it appeal to people who miss the simplicity of vocal texture from the sixties, the personal song themes of the seventies, and the lushness of the eighties. Of course, everybody has a choice — you can stay listening to your pop classics from a bygone age or you can take a chance and explore some of the music that is being made today. Bands like The Sun-Ups have grown up listening to the same music as you, have absorbed its values, and taken the dream into the modern age.

With so many indie bands producing those moody black and white photos to project their image as serious young men, it is a breath of fresh air to see and hear The Sun-Ups. Their music explores feelings of love, anger, and disappointment as well as happier times. They just seem to enjoy themselves a bit more playing their music and us listeners can do the same. Put it on in the car, wind the windows down, and enjoy what's left of the summer.

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  • You’re right about the Seattle/Grunge thing, that conection was a long time ago. The Curved Air comparison was a suprise to me as well, I can’t even lay my hands on the album I’m thinking of (in a box of vinyl somewhere) but something in the singing brought it all back to me.

  • You know, after Death Cab for Cutie, the Long Winters, Maktub, the Math and Physics Club, Minus the Bear, Pedro the Lion, and honorary Seattleite Neko Case, maybe we can retire the “Seattle = Grunge” review trope. I think the town has proved that it’s broader than that.

    On the other hand, nice comparison with Curved Air–I think that’s the first time in a while that I’ve seen anyone namecheck them.