Is indie-punk even a thing? Is it possible to mesh sweet, occasionally twinkly melodies with slightly less gruff, but still kind of raspy vocals and speed it up until it’s acceptable to put in your ‘summer punx road trip’ playlist? Arguably, yes, because Sundowners have done it. The Larger Half Of Wisdom is definitely not your average punk record, and it’s far better than your average indie-rock record. Made for summer days and BBQs, this is the perfect record to stick on when you’ve got friends with less-than-eclectic tastes vying for the iPod.
If it weren’t for a sardonic, wisecracking lyrical agenda, these tunes would probably be highly radio friendly. ‘Bird World Country’, with its scathing attack on inequality has a stupidly catchy chorus, playful solos and just the right amount of slowed down palm muting. Even in such a short space of time (the average track length is about 2:30), Sundowners’ vocal harmonies have a way of burrowing deep into your subconscious and the choruses to tracks like ‘Dig Deeper’ and ‘Belly Up Buckle Down’ will reverberate around your melon for ages. It’s incredibly easy to lose yourself in the quick and steady rhythms, the pretty jangly guitar lines and slightly vintage and scratchy feel of the album, but throughout, you’re often jolted back to reality by straight-up punk aesthetics. ‘Hold On’ is arguably the ‘punkest’ track on the album, harking back to Eternal Cowboy era Against Me! in its melodies and lo-fi instrumentals, but it doesn’t overplay its hand. Final track ‘Revolving’ could have been something grandiose and over the top, judging from the opening it’s given in ‘Oh No’, but instead, it’s a fast and simple punk rock romper that’s danceable as all hell and breaks into a completely wicked gang chorus towards the end. That probably sums up the whole record. Dropping the pretention, and the legacy of Midwestern beard punk laid out before them, Sundowners instead create a record that’s lots of fun and fit to burst with pretty, tuneful riffs.
If you like philosophical, fast and tuneful pop laced punk with a sense of reckless abandon and soul, you could do a lot worse than get into Sundowners.
4.5 out of 5 high fives!