Sounds Like Sunset
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Sounds Like Sunset

Gosford, New South Wales, Australia | INDIE

Gosford, New South Wales, Australia | INDIE
Band Alternative Rock




"Sounds Like Sunset: Saturdays (Modular Recordings)"

By: Alex Steininger

Sounds Like Sunset's Saturdays is a swirling combination of hook-driven rock and atmospheric, slightly spacey ambiance, a melodic team that swims around in your head constantly while the mesmerizing songs dance and sparkle note after note.

Front man Dave Challinor's falsetto on the opening track, "Each Time You Smile", quickly wins you over, the music a blend of melodic rock and sonic, My Blood Valentine-esque guitar composition. There is no turning back from there, and no reason to. Unlike some bands that stack their album, leaving the listener less and less interested as the album progresses, Sounds Like Sunset build it like a painting. Using the first song as the canvas, each additional track is a brush stroke, the final picture a collection of everything that lead to the end.

The magical thing about it is when it ends, you want to go back to the beginning and experience it all over again. The swimming-in-your-head guitar tones and rhythmic bounce, the emotionally candid lyrics, and the spectacular use of guitar layers set atop a bare bones guitar-pop structure, wins you over with little to no struggle.

This is the type of record that, much like Australia, where the band resides, is sunny and warm, packed with a lot in a relatively small space, yet still has its edge, plenty of wilderness to roam and explore. "Unfair", "Sing Forever", and "Inflight Movies" are just a few of the mind-blowing numbers on this record. I'll give it an A. - In Music We Trust

"Sounds Like Sunset - Invisible"

You’re alone on the freeway. The broken fence posts dotting the road side are flying past in a blur. Your thoughts are still. All you have is the steady pulse of drums, bass, soaring guitars and dreamy vocals. All you have is Sounds Like Sunset’s new album in the compact disc player and you’re doing fine.

Invisible is a zen-like return from Australia’s finest purveyors of shoe-gazing style indie pop/rock. Perhaps, at last, the rest of the world can share the secret in greater numbers. The band’s last album, the debut Saturdays, was universally hailed, but their reputation beyond Sydney and eventually beyond Australia was certainly only a gradually spreading awareness.

Formed in 1997, Sounds Like Sunset came together in a monotone post-grunge environment when Sydney was experiencing a less than invigorating period in rock music. No local radio dedicated to the scene, only a handful of venues, and always the threat of those closing down. But it wasn’t all dire. The music was there but you just had to search a little harder for it.

Along came Sounds Like Sunset, hailing from Sydney and the New South Wales central coast area, who quickly set about tearing our ears off with their noise drenched pop delights. I mean this was a band so defiantly loud, only half the venues would have them. And that meant three. But who cares? What stood the band apart were neat guitar skills, smart songwriting and glorious melodies.

In a live setting, the band are indeed an uncompromisingly loud guitar band in the truest sense of six string worship. They are however susceptible to a dodgy mix or off night. Subsequently, in recorded form, I believe the band truly shines. But don’t get me wrong – when they’re on live, they’re untouchable.

So for their first album, Sydney label Modular signed them and released Saturdays which was met with descriptions such as this: “If the Beach Boys reformed and were transported through punk and grunge, stopping on their way for a quick collaboration with the Stone Roses and My Bloody Valentine, they might sound like this.” Not bad eh?

People were vibed. Here was a band we could be truly proud to call our own, brandishing their confident, thrilling and loud take on sugary, shoegaze pop. So what happened? Well sometimes beauty can be a fragile thing. Sounds Like Sunset weren’t perhaps the most ambitious of outfits and various set backs (possibly including lower than expected sales) stood in the way of a speedy follow up. But I’m excited to say that’s all in the past now.

This is an album that will get rave reviews everywhere it lands, positively sparkling with pristine, wistful melodies courtesy of frontman, guitarist songwriter Dave Challinor. The rest of the band (David Hobson – bass, Andrew Fevre – guitar, Tobey Doctor – drums) are no slouches either, hosting Challinor’s songs in wall of sound, feedback-drenched templates, often so loud and mesmerising they conversely add to the whole lullaby effect.

Highlights include First Time with its poignant sense of tracing lost innocence. Sounds Like Sunset are always at their strongest when matching noisy fuzzed out guitars and blaring feedback with sweeter than honey vocals – and First Time is a great example of the band’s trademark. The sheer volume against melodies which recall Red Kross, Brian Wilson and bands like Lush and Ride is an effective tool. The strengths of contrast are not lost on this band.

The first radio single, Frequency, is another strong cut. With a simple three-chord backing, the song coasts along with a happy, circular pop vocal melody. It’s deceptively simple in its execution and just begs for repeated plays so you go along for the ride once more.

The album stays in the same mid-tempo, loud rocking gear for the most part, the abrasiveness matching the sweet melodies all the way. This could indicate a lack of diversity, but in the case of Sounds Like Sunset, what a gear this is.

When the band really does change things up, it’s to great effect. It’s My Star sees the band pull back on the propulsive straight ahead energy for a spell, to reveal what is Invisible, the prettiest song. The vocal sits high in the mix, and a dreamy sense pervades the track as glistening guitars float across catchy drums and bass.

As Dave sings, “It’s coming through your window,” one imagines just how many listeners’ windows Invisible will float through in coming months. - FasterLouder


Album: 'Invisible' on the Architecture Label (Belles Will Ring, Death Cab For Cutie)

Album: 'Saturdays' on the Modular label (Wolfmother, The Presets, Ben Lee, The Avalanches, Evan Dando etc)

7" Single: 'Before It Blows' (split 7" with The Lassie Foundation from Los Angeles)



Sounds Like Sunset's music drifts between hummable melodies and warbling, ecstatic noise.

Inspiration ranges from the wide-eyed, visionary pop music of The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Kinks, the drone & dark noise of The Velvet Underground, and the genius of Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine & The Jesus and Mary Chain who meld trash with beauty to make wonderful, timeless pop songs with blasts of murk & feedback as the basis of the song.

Sounds Like Sunset formed in 1997, and since then the band have worked away steadily on their craft of bending thick walls of guitar into cool songs.

Sounds Like Sunset are due to release their 3rd album 'Dizzy Spells' in February 2011, recorded in both David Challinor's home studio and the famous Albert's Studios in Sydney with ARIA award-winning producer Wayne Connolly (You Am I, Youth Group, Josh Pyke, The Vines, Underground Lovers).

2 critically acclaimed studio albums have been released within Australia already - 'Saturdays' (thru Modular Recordings 2001) and 'Invisible' (thru Architecture/Shock in 2005), and a brand new album 'We Could Leave Tonight' (Tym Records) will by released both on 12" vinyl on 22 July 2014.

These albums, along with a trail of radio singles, have landed the band in a number of top-10 lists with the music press over the years, and their song 'Frequency' was once a nominee for voting in TripleJ's Hottest 100.

The band enjoy a faithful fanbase across Australia and play shows regularly, and have performed at the Big Day Out, and have enjoyed sharing stages with Australian indie stalwart bands such as Violent Soho, The Hard Ons, Magic Dirt, Bluebottle Kiss, Screamfeeder and The Vines to name a few.

Continued radio airplay, internet buzz and and ongoing use of Sounds Like Sunset's music in syndicated TV shows and short films has been both unexpected and inspiring.

The sonic freedom the band enjoys is more of an art school approach to making music - there's a steady creative process at work, and the band push one another to try new ways of altering time & space within the world of the 3-4 minute pop song.

Band Members