Music, Pop Culture

Sun King Rising “Signs and Wonders” LP

Minimalism doesn’t have to sound particularly barren in chamber pop and psychedelic music, and if I had to judge based on the looks of his new album, I would have to say that Sun King Rising is out to make this statement law with the release of the brilliantly simple Signs & Wonders this October. Though the instrumental intricacies of this LP are absolutely on the more conservative side, there are a few complications to the construction of the material and the delivery SKR provides. In telling us a story that starts and ends from within his very soul, this songwriter gives us something unfanciful and complex at the same time.


There’s no doubting the educated background SKR enjoys when listening to the likes of “Low Wine and Cruel Ruin,” “Alabama Nocturne” or “Jubal Takes a Wife;” to be frank, I think these three tracks alone tell us a lot about the immense wealth of knowledge he brings into the recording studio here. He puts the medium on a pedestal in these songs, but never so much as to sacrifice his raw emotionality in the name of giving us something pretty sounding. It’s a difficult balance to strike, but he’s essentially found a way of being both clandestine and forward with his love for music and expression in this record (and we get to witness the evolution in real time).

There’s a moment in “No. 6 Magnolia Avenue” in which the vocal could last forever and I’d be just fine with it, but SKR doesn’t let the catharsis become too indulgent here. In snapping it away from us as quickly as it was placed before the audience in brightly colored ribbonry, he’s able to make the aesthetics of this track even more unforgettable than they already would have been. It’s this kind of thinking that makes “Anchorless” and even “She Was a Blonde” just as spellbinding, albeit with totally different cosmetics in the fold.

The video for “No. 6 Magnolia Avenue” definitely took me aback the first time I watched it, but for those who have been following the career of Sun King Rising thus far, I imagine it’s going to be exactly what you would hope and pray for out of this man’s incredible discography. Even his most decadent of emissions has a frills-free center that puts the substance of his storytelling ahead of most everything else here, and it’s for this reason that I think his latest album is going to be considered one of the best in indie pop this year.

I cannot wait to hear and see what Sun King Rising is going to do with his artistry next, and if you weren’t already excited about his skillset before taking a peek at Signs & Wonders, this LP is going to have you eager for more after a single listening session. For every question he poses to himself with the conceptual compositional style utilized in Signs & Wonders, SKR answers back with something inventive and thought-provoking, setting the bar much higher than any of his contemporaries would dare to at the moment. Simply put – he has my support, and with this ability, he’ll probably gain yours soon enough.

Cleopatra Patel

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