June 22, 2003

Suntan "Send You Home"

This is a bit of a confounding record for me. Last year's self-titled EP was a wonderful little bit of lysergic rock, mixed in with other forms of narcotics, and I was more than eager to hear their followup. Well, when Send You Home showed up in my mailbox, I was extremely excited, and when I popped it on my car stereo, I was totally in love with it. Loud, thundering guitar epics mixed with equally wasted singing, yup, I was pretty much hooked from the get-go; it was a nice little ROCK AND ROLL sound that I really enjoyed. I just kept thinking, "whoa, these guys are amazing!"

When I listened to it again a few days later at home, though--something changed. It didn't knock me out like the first time. In fact, I couldn't really sit through the first two songs--"Rising for You" and "The Next Ones," because both of them are sooo long (7:34 and 9:44, respectively) and sooo...glacial. Thank goodness for their doped-up-yet-quite-faithful cover of Them's "I Can Only Give You Everything," or I would have probably fallen asleep. Their three-part closing epic "Send You Home" is also pretty wonderful--and rather rockin', too. You shouldn't try too hard to listen, because in so doing, you really miss the point, and you won't be able to appreciate their simple genius.

Let's not take away anything from Suntan, though, because it would be wrong to dismiss them so easily. Send You Home is definitely mood music, and you better be in the mood, or you won't enjoy or appreciate the music. "Every Night" is a beautiful ballad that would probably suit you well if you were making a mixtape or CD for those more romantic moments. I do have this feeling that they're an excellent live band, because the songs on Send You Home have a definite energy, even if it seems a bit restrained. Send You Home is definitely not a sit-at-home-and-listen kind of record. Unless, of course, you're, erm, medicated, and then I'm sure it sounds wonderful. Pop it on for your next road trip or your next romantic evening; it's certainly a moving record, in the most literal sense.

--Joseph Kyle

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