EP Review: Commonweather – Sugar Sun EP

Coming almost a year after Chicago alt-rock band Commonweather‘s last release, the Sugar Sun EP is a bit of a poppy departure from the band’s previous music. Out Friday, September 13, the three tracks that comprise Sugar Sun are brighter, lighter and almost sunny compared to the heavier, grungier music that came before.

a0175388687_10.jpgDespite its lighter vibe, there is also a solidly pop-punk tone to Commonweather’s music on Sugar Sun; each of the three tracks still features the substantive guitar chords and mildly nasal vocals that are so characteristic of pop-punk music. The music is rich and dynamic with plenty of cool guitar chords, enthusiastic drum beats and just a touch of grit, yet dry vocals from frontperson Justin Olin provide a classically alternative contrast that only serves to highlight the angst-ridden lyrics (“I’m stretched so thin again” on “Crave”).

“Mellow Drama” is a highlight of the EP, and it was also the first single released from the set. It’s a pulsing track with a wicked guitar solo, though Olin sounds desolate as he sings, alternately crooning and yelling, about an isolating and emotionally exhausting relationship (“There’s something about the drive home from your house/It’s been wearing me down”).

Finally, the EP closes with “Sugar Sun,” the title track and a poppy acoustic song that feels like a bittersweet love letter (“While I sit and wait for your call/You lay in your bed and rewrite it all”). It’s a fitting close to the record, featuring sweet melodies, bright background vocalizing, a cool piano undertone and main vocals that alternate between gritty yelling and softly singing.

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Photo by Tyler Cipriani.

Though Sugar Sun shows off a bit of a shift from Commonweather’s previously heavy music, it’s a successful change, and the resulting three tracks that comprise the EP are catchy, rocking and definitively candid all at the same time. Listeners who just can’t get enough, however, are in luck: Commonweather is slated to perform a string of live tour dates over the next month – find more information on the band’s Bandcamp page.

Check out Sugar Sun on all streaming platforms now, and listen to and purchase the EP via Commonweather’s Bandcamp below.

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