Sun June welcomes their third album, titled “Bad Dream Jaguar,” which evokes a dreamlike state. With roots in Austin, their music has carried a distinct Texan quality—unhurried, akin to leisurely drives across vast roads under the Texan sun.
Sun June’s songwriting encompasses an ongoing interplay. Vocalist and band leader Laura Colwell, along with guitarist Stephen Salisbury, have been co-writing since the band’s founding. Yet, “Bad Dream Jaguar” marks their first collaboration from a distance. Salisbury’s relocation to North Carolina from Texas in 2020 altered the band’s recording process, initiating a long-distance dynamic between him and Colwell. This change opened up creative space for the other band members—lead guitarist Michael Bain, bassist Justin Harris, and drummer Sarah Schultz—to explore independent projects. For Colwell, it facilitated a deeper dive into solitary songwriting. Colwell herself moved to North Carolina in 2022, reshaping the band’s dynamics further. Despite being 1300 miles apart, Colwell and Salisbury crafted songs that delved into their shared struggles.
“Eager”: The album begins on a bit of an eerie note. Laura Colwell’s voice hovers over a slow and minimalistic synth arrangement. The song evokes a sense of wistful isolation and distant memories with the image of a spinning disco ball at the end of an unpopulated dance floor.
“16 Riders”: The album rolls into this slow jam that is perhaps more characteristic of the band’s previous work, and lightens the mood from the previous track. Don’t let the comforting vibe fool you, this song
“Mixed Bag”: This song is a reflection on a past relationship filled with disagreements. There’s emotional conflict because they left to find what they wanted. What they found was just as unfulfilling.
“Moon Ahead”: The lyrics reflect on revisiting their younger self and the expectations of adulthood that have held them back.
“Ambitions”: The lyrics acknowledge mistakes from the past and express the desire to make amends, they recognize the importance of being called out for their action. Making amends isn’t always easy but they have to create tension to make things right.
“Easy Violence”: The combination of drum machine and acoustic guitar comes as a fun surprise as we move into the second half of the album. The lyrics surround details of staying up all night, being “a menace to society,” and falling into bad patterns.
“John Prine”: This song has a strong sense of loneliness, dropping someone off, and listening to a John Prine song.
“Sage”: This song keeps the vibe slowed to a meandering pace. The lyrics convey a sense of nostalgia, but the image of burning sage shows the need to cleanse the air. The song brings a sense of longing, reflection, and the need for comfort.
“Washington Square”: This song details moments of a friendship in Manhattan. They reminisce about a past relationship, focusing on a journey to Washington Square and the nostalgia associated with it. At the time they were broke and stumbling through life, but everything felt hopeful, and the mistakes made didn’t seem so significant.
“Get Enough” has been released as their stand-out single of the record. The band playfully refers to their music as “regret pop” and this song is a great maple of that. Mixing the delicate melodious nature of Colwell’s vocals with tranquil rhythms.
“Texas” was captured in a single live take, imbuing this song with immediacy and authenticity.
“Lighting”: The album wraps up with a song about a burdened relationship. There’s a sense of unspoken or unexplained feelings in the relationship. I watched through the window and caught you crying / Back when you and I headed west for Los Angeles / I thought I saw lightning over those hills / or something I can’t quite explain. These lyrics vaguely describe uneasy moments.
Sun June’s music often feels like a collective recollection, with details just on the edge of the song that they seem tangible. Overall, this album conveys distant memories, with a sense of nostalgia and reflection. The album is a reflection on aging, a phase where one is suspended between the past and future. Recalling inhabited, bound by family histories, while the future remains uncertain and the present constantly slips away. The emotional weight remained in their collaboration despite the distance between Colwell and Salisbury. Their remote collaboration perhaps added an extra layer of loneliness and melancholy. This album acted as a conduit for their connection and closeness, allowing them to share their innermost thoughts despite the physical distance.
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