Album Review: Bad Suns – Disappear Here

By Liz Penry, Contributor

[Vagrant; 2016]

Rating: 8.5/10

Key Tracks: “Disappear Here,” Heartbreaker,” “Outskirts of Paradise”

Bad Suns are back and they are better than ever. After the success of their first album Language and Perspective (which made The Huffington Post’s “23 Best Albums of 2014” list), the Californian indie-rock band has released their second album, Disappear Here, which is living up to all the hype of a two year wait.

The album opens up with the title track “Disappear Here,” already ensuring their audience’s attention. It starts off with an upbeat, punkish bass line and the lyrics soon begin to paint the picture of one, consumed with trepidation, driving into an electric colored canyon at dusk. This beginning imagery serves as a symbol for the central theme of the album as a whole: the dismay of complexity and confusion along with the spark of self-empowerment and optimism that occurs after a damaging breakup.

After the title track, Bad Suns continue to keep listeners on their toes by including the typical heartbreak anthem that every break up driven album includes, “Heartbreaker.” But in comparison to most “trying to drink my feels away and pretend to celebrate” songs, this has a peppy and retro twist, along with the always included extremely catchy chorus.

The following tracks on the album continue on each with its own diverse sound, mimicking the diverging emotions one might feel after a heartfelt ending. Independence, revenge, gloom, opportunity, defeat, ambivalence, desire, realization, self-discovery and realness, with each quality representing the last eleven songs, are all presented throughout.

The 80s pop-punk influenced record lyrically and melodically takes the listener through the aftermath of a breakup, but instead of hopelessness and heartbrokenness being the leading qualities of the album’s vibe, Bad Suns expresses both positivity and growth throughout, unlike many breakup-influenced albums do. The last phrase one hears on the album, which is repeatedly sang in the song “Outskirts of Paradise,” is “when the time comes,” leaving the listener, although sensibly sad over a loss, newly hopeful for the future. This song likewise portrays a picture of one driving off into the vibrant and peaceful sunset of paradise with ease, creating a parallel with the opening of the album.

Not only does this album contain emotionally-provoking lyrics that allow anyone who has been through a complicated and troubling relationship to relate, but it also includes bold base lines, spunky guitar riffs, and smooth and upbeat drum counterparts that all resemble Bad Suns’ signature sound, only this time with a groovy twist. The organized and highly thought out structure of the album, the self-reflecting vocals and the high-energized and masterful instrumentation allows listeners to truly “disappear” into the dynamic story explaining one whose unable to forget, but working to move on.

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