Suns Intensity Matches Their Name

Two new EPs are powerful and primal


Close Calls in the US Space Program / The Howl and the Many

Released on Aug 24, 2010


It’s fascinating which music industry terms have endured over the years and which have fallen from favor. In the bold new frontier driven more by single songs that full-length albums it’s often a struggle to know what to call a new release from a band. Album still works because it not only refers to a vinyl record but also to a body of work. The term EP, short for “extended-play,” which actually dates back to 1919 and refers to releases that were longer than a single but without enough songs to be considered a full album, has also survived despite seeming more outdated.

That brings up the question of why the Chicago-based band Suns decided to release two separate EP’s instead of making Close Calls in the US Space Program and The Howl and the Many into one full-length album. I can’t say there is a decided difference in the sound of the two releases but the band is clearly treating them as separate works.

Regardless of their reasoning, both releases are excellent. The music is intense with a lot of passion in the vocals and a very tribal sounding drum presence. Looking back over several generations of music comparisons that come to mind include The Doors, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and Tool all in their respectively darkest phases.

“Don’t Do It,” is the stand-out track out of the two releases. The singer’s simple plea, “Don’t you do it, don’t you break my heart,” mixed with an intense sonic background conjures the image of a tortured soul on par with Jim Morrison singing about “The End” or “The Unknown Soldier.”

If there is a drawback to the collective nine new songs from Suns it’s that they are all in essentially the same vein. There’s not a lot of sonic variety to be had. Using the Doors analogy, the most intense songs were balanced by “Roadhouse Blues” or “L.A. Woman.” However Suns are just getting started and like most pitchers who start with a fastball before adding a curveball or change-up to their repertoire, it’s a safe bet that in the future Suns will find ways to add more diversity to their sound while maintaining their signature intensity.

The other thing that would help this band is a name change. Not only is it the name of a professional basketball team in Phoenix, there is also an Australian football club with the same name. Then add in all the references to the actual sun, the one in the middle of the solar system, and it’s very hard to find information about the band.

On top of that there is very little information available anyway. Their MySpace page has no bio or details other than the names of the six band members. A search for one of the EP’s by title, The Howl and the Many, yields links to a band with that name. There is a lesson here for any band that wants to grow an audience, make sure the world can find you.

Regardless of how hard it may be to find the band, Suns two new EP’s are worth the hunt especially as both can currently be downloaded for free. Turn down the lights, put on the headphones and enjoy a truly intense experience with Suns.

High Point

Low Point

Posted by Mike Stern on Sep 01, 2010 @ 3:15 pm

suns, chicago, close calls in the us space program, the howl and the many, review