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Sundialer - Sundialer (Joel C Bennett)

12 June 2024

Sitting somewhere between the complexities of shoegazery and the drifting soundscapes of dream pop, analogue traditions and digital dexterity, indie guitars and ethereal, power-pop harmonies, Ventura, CA’s Sundialer, has a lot to offer. And this eponymous album is the perfect way to dip your toe in their warm, serene sonic waters.

When you see anything tagged shoegaze, it is easy to imagine cascades of clashing and cavernous guitars and dense walls of sound, but this is not that. It may have a foot in that camp, but it is its proximity to lighter, more accessible dream pop territory that tempers such excesses. Music made between dream-pop and a hard place? Yes, why not?

If there are songs such as the opener, “Lazer,” that typify such a balancing act perfectly, a blend of dream and drift but also melody and structure, other songs show just how much they like to push even those boundaries. “Projector” chimes with that more concise, pre-Brit-pop guitar sound that ran through bands such as Primal Scream and The Stone Roses. “Elysium” vibes with an even earlier, almost pastel pop/early Floyd, psychedelic sound, “Shoot” is shimmering and shifting and it perhaps songs such as “Gold” that come close to the usual intensity associated with the trademark shoegaze sound.

Sundialer is a collection of songs that echo the past but which clearly reach for the future. Shouldn’t all music exhibit such splendid duality? You’d think!