Following the success of their first album Language & Perspective (2014) featuring hits “Cardiac Arrest” and “Salt,” Bad Suns released their sophomore album, Disappear Here, on September 16. Bad Suns is a young band; the group’s lead vocalist Chris Bowman is only 22, but their 80’s punk influence grants the group a sound older than their ages might suggest. Bad Suns does not stray too far from the sound of their debut album on Disappear Here.
A glance at Disappear Here’s tracklist is enough to see Bad Suns’ angsty punk influence, featuring titles like “Even in my Dreams, I Can’t Win” and “Maybe We’re Meant To Be Alone.” After a few listens, however, it is apparent that one of Bad Suns’ primary strengths is their ability to blend these influences with a more optimistic sound driven by catchy guitar riffs and emotional lyrics. The title track “Disappear Here” fits in seamlessly with their first album, reminding listeners that the band will remain true to their original sound.
Much of the album deals with the complexities of love and breakups, and “Disappear Here” is no exception as Bowman questions a faltering relationship. The record continues with “Heartbreaker,” a catchy song that fits perfectly into the attitude of the summer festival circuit. Even when singing about separation,“Heartbreaker” demonstrates the group’s ability to blend sad content with upbeat, irresistible beats. One of the most solid songs from the record, “Patience,” features cleverly crafted vocals over quick percussion. It’s almost impossible not to dance along as Bowman croons, “All my dreams have been weighing me down / Like an anchor to my bed, I can live my life instead.” The record takes a softer turn with “Swimming in the Moonlight,” a catchy emotional ballad where Bowman croons, “I couldn’t love you any more if I tried.”
In between the faster paced, lighthearted tracks on the record, Bowman injects a few songs that reveal a softer, more somber side of himself. In contrast to his usual confident tone, he shows the listener a less secure version of himself by singing about isolation and the fear of being alone. As Bowman laments about failed relationships, he demonstrates the band’s ability to go beyond their carefree appearance and tackle a range of emotions.
Disappear Here proves that if nothing else, Bad Suns can produce a strong record consistent with the success and sound of their first. While this news may be received well by some older fans of the band, there were times when I found something missing from Disappear Here. Disappear Here has so many of the qualities about Bad Suns that I already enjoy, but it lacked an obviously strong track like “Cardiac Arrest.” That being said, the record is solid, and no doubt will be an interesting record to experience live as Bad Suns hits major U.S. cities this fall.
Voice’s Choices: “Patience” and “Heartbreaker”