Seattle-based Sundodger just dropped their debut LP, called Bigger Waves. Recorded at Studio Litho and produced by Shawn Simmons, the album features 10 tracks.
Sundodger is made up of Dan Engel (guitar, vocals), Jeff Norman (guitar), Don Currie (bass), and Mark Fiebig (drums). Engel and Norman got together while in college, forming a band called Divided Sky, which released a couple of CDs and toured regionally. Eventually, they burned out. Years later, they got back together, wrote some new material, and formed Sundodger.
Currie and Fiebig joined the band in 2016, after playing together in a band named Betty Ford Falcons. There was a natural chemistry between the four musicians that carried over into writing music, and the studio.
“We really took our time with Bigger Waves, a year and a half from end to end,” says Engel. “We are a much closer band after going through that process. We had all the blowout fights and stuff like that and got through it – all of which has made us better musicians and people. Sonically, we did a lot of experimenting with guitar tones, vocals and for the first time brought keyboards into the mix.”
Sundodger’s music blends classic rock, new wave, and punk into a hard-hitting sound with a sharp edge to it. As Engel explains, “Music today is very safe, no pointy edges, and would go very nicely on a mobile phone or Corona commercial. We would love to see a little danger put back into rock n roll.”
The best tracks on the album include “Banner Days,” a classic rock tune with hints of punk energy. The song is reminiscent of Kings of Leon, radiating a pungent alt rock flavor. Engel’s vocals hit just the right spot, tight and strong. “Like Me” is an alt rock number full of dirty guitars and glowing, mesmerizing keyboards. A bit of Seattle grunge seeps through but is overshadowed by the tune’s prog-rock-punk feel.
I really like the distinctive buzzing guitar riff on “Keeping a Light On,” thrumming like a busy bee as shimmering tones play underneath. “Epitaph” punches out hefty new wave punk colors, as well as a grinding, potent rhythm. This is the kind of song you listen to in the garage, at full volume, as a thunderstorm passes overhead.
“Last Stand” is another favorite, along with the last track, “Echoes,” which for some reason reminds me of Queensryche because of its elegance and delicate sonority.
Bigger Waves is remarkable. I like this album very much because on the one hand, it’s familiar, while on the other hand, it’s innovative and just different enough to captivate. I highly recommend you check out Bigger Waves.