Sundowner
Four One Five Two


4.0
excellent

Review

by Brokenjewel USER (11 Reviews)
March 25th, 2010 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Well crafted acoustic punk that has some surprising hidden depths.

Chris McCaughan is best known for his frontline role in the widely respected, brilliantly anthemic punk band, The Lawrence Arms. Throughout their career – one that has spanned more than ten years and is still thriving - McCaughan has played an integral role in the song writing process of the band, gradually honing his craft along the way. Perhaps inevitably he began, over the years, to amass a group of songs which wouldn’t fit easily into The Lawrence Arms repertoire and, in-between touring and recording duties, he quietly unleashed these upon the public in a series of one off coffee shop/bar shows. Positive responses to these solo acoustic performances, along with a confidence in the cohesiveness of his own work, drove McCaughan to the logical conclusion of a solo record, and so Sundowner was born.

On first listen Four One Five Two contains few surprises. Most songs are based around briskly strummed open or barre chords and a solid, if slightly vague and unadventurous lyrical content delivered in McCaughan’s pleasantly earthy voice. So far, so acoustic punk. On closer inspection, though, it becomes clear that the record is laced with remarkably subtle details which add a breadth to the music; an added texture not all that common within the genre. At regular points throughout the album there are warm, almost inaudible undercurrents hovering below the sound of the guitar and voice, and it’s only when they spread a little and rise to the surface that it becomes clearly recognisable as a cello. And occasionally, delicate piano melodies bloom and fade, like the quiet tinkling which keeps up with the chorus in ‘Steal Your Words’ – an ephemeral and brilliantly effective detail that remains low in the mix, showing a restraint that would be noteworthy in any genre, let alone one based around a notorious tendency for simplicity.

Lyrically, Four One Five Two breaks no new boundaries, but it's fit to burst with simple yet evocative imagery and metaphor; an aspect that oddly becomes one of the record’s greatest attractions, while also being its foremost drawback. The lyrics have a down-to-earth poeticism, but their consistent abstractness gives the impression that something is being held back, as if McCaughan is uncomfortable sharing the real grit of his life in the way that, say, Frank Turner seems to revel in. What this more generalised style of writing does benefit from, though, is a universality which makes it easy for the listener to identify with the themes of the songs, even if the character of the singer remains a little blurry. Four One Five Two might not be a perfect record, then, but compared to many of its kind it displays a remarkable finesse that is as endearing as it is surprising. So, if you’re a fan of melodic punk, and you’ve got the time to listen, you’ll probably find that Sundowner have got something worthwhile to say. And it’s something they say very well.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Brokenjewel
March 25th 2010


1247 Comments


Any particular resaon why you think it was poorly written?

Foxhound
March 25th 2010


4570 Comments


Nope it was probably a ghost negger. Your review is spot on as usual but again something I'll probably
write off, no offense of course =)

Brokenjewel
March 25th 2010


1247 Comments


Yeah, no worries, dude. I'm working on a couple of metalcore ones you might dig, though.

tom79
March 25th 2010


3372 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, my thoughts pretty much. Excellent album.

Digging: Karate - Some Boots

Brokenjewel
March 25th 2010


1247 Comments


Cheers, man. Yeah, it's quality - been listening to it a lot recently.

Satellite
March 26th 2010


20816 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was considering reviewing this; good job man.

I saw Chris play his first show under the Sundowner moniker and it was one of the best times ever. I met him before the show and he's seriously one of the most genuinely nice musicians I've met to date. He hung out with everyone afterwards and him and Neil (TLA's drummer) DESTROYED me and my then-girlfriend in foosball.

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

Brokenjewel
March 26th 2010


1247 Comments


Thanks, diude. I'd love to see this guy play live, hopefully he'll get over to the UK at some point.

Firecracker
March 28th 2010


106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

such an amazing album.

Brokenjewel
March 28th 2010


1247 Comments


Yeah, definately one of the best acoustic punk albums ever, I reckon.

Satellite
March 28th 2010


20816 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Have you heard the new split Brendan Kelly did with Joe McMahon of Smoke or Fire?

Brokenjewel
March 28th 2010


1247 Comments


No, man - I'll check it out.

Brokenjewel
March 29th 2010


1247 Comments


Hey, the neg disappeared. wtf?

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2010


15737 Comments


sounds like a band that speaks my language

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2010


17920 Comments


HAYOO

Brokenjewel
March 29th 2010


1247 Comments


Yeah, it's ace, man. Keeps growing on me more and more.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
October 31st 2010


7026 Comments


i'll probably love this. getting.

Digging: Perfume Genius - Too Bright

Satellite
October 31st 2010


20816 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, do it. His new album is really good, too.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
November 4th 2010


7026 Comments


hits the spot

qwe3
November 4th 2010


21362 Comments


was gonna make a downer joke but downer already did

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2010


7026 Comments


Average rating is ridiculously high. I have a feeling that no one would give a shit about this album if the songwriter wasn't the vocalist of the The Lawrence Arms. I enjoy the album, but it really isn't anything special.



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