With three previous singles, sunwashere‘s SUN WAS HERE is an EP that offers five songs centered around indie rock genres with outliers brought through influences, remixes, and a feature with eAeon. sunwashere isn’t playing a new genre or experimenting with styles, her release is really just a very strong set of tracks that highlight her melodies and arrangements. It’s simple and to the point and that’s all you really need.
“Paisley” uses a full band with a keyboard added on top to provide some opposing and complementary melodies. It’s the type of song that’s playing in the background as you sit with a morning coffee. “Paisley” is mellow and sunwashere’s vocals are soothing over each verse. She’s comfortable in the octave and as the first track, really puts for a good introduction. The drums keep things consistent while the guitar and bass add some variety. The synths are there to back up her vocals without using a long, layered backing track.
As she move into “Dance,” this is the track that I prefer over “Paisley.” It’s built on sunwashere’s vocals and adds more instruments over verses. It’s a bit more low key than “Paisley” and feels like a song you could see someone busking. Her vocals really draw your attention on “Dance” and the mid-addition of saxophone was a little unexpected, but fits the tone of the song. I like how the drums help add more dimension while not overpowering any of the other instruments. I kind of wish “Dance” was one of the singles because it gives a longer impression.
What most people will be drawn to is “Night and Day” featuring eAeon. sunwashere is able to match eAeon’s vocal style and the way the vocals bounce from each other work perfectly. The song is sparse with more electronic synth elements compared to the full band instrumentals of previous songs. At track three, “Night and Day” does a great job adding a pause to the release. The duet in the last of the third of the song proves that sunwashere can manipulate her vocals and she could explore this in other songs if she wants.
“Night and Day” is transition on SUN WAS HERE because “Melancholy Call” is less indie rock and a bit more R&B and ballad. The instrumental moves towards a backing instrumental with sampled percussion and sparse guitar and bass lines. It’s another good showing of her vocals and how she was a versatile style. “Last Song” is a mix of electronic pop, jazz and R&B melodies, and indie pop. A lot of verses pull from different genres, but it’s not completely sitting within any genre while sounding so familiar. It’s a fitting closer for the main songs.
Closing SUN WAS HERE are two remixes. One by dongdong for “Dance” which gives it a more dance club feel and the other with Jeon Yonghyeon for “Night and Day.” The “Night and Day” remix brings a piano accompaniment that slowly builds into an orchestral remix. The orchestral elements might be all samples, but it gives “Night and Day” an entirely new feel.
sunwashere’s EP is a very strong start. “Paisley” and “Dance” show one side of sunwashere while her collaboration on “Night and Day” combined with “Melancholy Day” and “Last Song” present another one of her perspectives. While I prefer her more indie-esque elements, I can see her R&B-influenced tracks becoming more popular. SUN WAS HERE is one of the best EPs of 2020.