LP released: Oct 20, 2023
BAD DREAM JAGUAR (TRANSPARENT PURPLE)
The first two minutes of Sun June's third album, Bad Dream Jaguar, is a reverie - Laura Colwell's voice floats above a slow-burn, sparse synth, conjuring a tipsy loneliness, a hazy recollection, a disco ball spinning at the end of the night for an empty dance floor. Sun June's music often feels like a shared memory - the details so close to the edge of a song that you can touch them. And as an Austin-based project, their music has also always felt strangely and specifically Texan - unhurried, long drives across an impossible expanse of openness, refractions shimmering off the pavement in the heat. But on Bad Dream Jaguar, Sun June is unmoored. The backdrop of Texas is replaced by longing, by distance, by transience, and a quiet fear. The only sense of certainty comes from the murky past. It's a dispatch from aging, when you're in the strange in-between of yourself: there's a clear image of the person you once were and the places you inhabited, generational curses and our families, but the future feels vast, unclear - and the present can't help but slip through your fingers.There's a mix of hi-fi and lo-fi; some songs, like "Texas," which the band had to learn at a breakneck pace ahead of their recording session, was recorded on a first take, live in the room, while "Eager" and "Easy Violence" feature early vocal takes from Colwell, the final songs built atop the demos. The latter track details staying up all night, being a menace to society, falling into bad patterns, but is followed by "John Prine," a drumless, piano-based ballad, a mash of pedal steel manipulated to sound closer to synths.Sun June's records have always been deceptively airy sounding in the face of melancholia, belying its densely textured foundation in a sense of ease. The layers on Bad Dream Jaguar don't tangle but they float, sheaths of divergent and luminescent sonics hanging together as the sun goes down, darkness seeping in. The record exists in the chasm between giving up and going all-in. And a flicker of quiet confidence powering through, a small hopeful glow at its core.