DIY, indie tunes to nod your head along too would probably be what ‘Suntrodden II’ would say on the tin, if it had one. This five song EP that just about reaches the thirteen minute mark, is the work of Atlanta based Erik Stephansson, sitting in his bedroom, playing lo-fi guitars into his computer and crafting dreamy pop melodies.
‘Sundtrodden II’ has a younger sibling, ‘Suntrodden’ released earlier this year which took a more dark approach in its lyrics as Stephansson was just about to become a father for the first time. But ‘Suntrodden II’ has crafted its own archetype and chooses to look at the more optimistic elements with its sunny organs and tepid jangly guitars.
Stephansson cites artists like nineties contemporise Elliot Smith as influences and on opener ‘Wake up’ you instantly fall into the dream pop haze of Stephansson’s double track vocals as he sings on the chorus- “Radiate, the worlds out there waiting for us.”
So much of the joy of Suntrodden is its simplicity, no crazy multi-tracking and no crass production just simply a man, strumming his guitar and layering ethereal overdubs. ‘Melt’ demonstrates the calmness of this EP nicely, with its Neutral Milk Hotel like chord opener and jangly electric guitar tremolos malting throughout.
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Like the note on his Bandcamp page says, you can hear the influence of “melodic simplicity of The Beatles” informing his sound, but the actual lyrics take on more out-there ideas- “I saw the future cross the curb and then drift further away”– maybe a thought on his new life with an offspring?
The whole EP is almost dreamlike, hazy and good evidence sometimes less is more- you even have the pleasure of hearing his fingers move on the strings. All the songs could be lullabies in their own right, especially the track ‘Daybreak’ which makes good use of warm synthesisers, arpeggiated MGMT chords while Stephansson’s sings in a high pitched delivery- “our heartbeats echo free as forever.”
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Closer ‘Become Light’ also lends us its easy listening sentiments, with its plucky synth chords, optimistic message- “today we blow our troubles away, today we won’t be afraid” and Beach House pacing. However like most of the songs on this EP, it all sounds similar to what came before, maybe a little more diversity in instrumentation might do a full length album justice.
‘Suntrodden III’ will hopefully be around the corner or maybe we’ll have to wait till his child reaches adolescence to hear the full result of Erikson’s meanders on life, maybe by that point-the tracks might be more progressive and slightly longer.
But for now we enjoy the poppy lullabies from Atlanta and let the Sun radiate its warmth and joys on us all!