Fresh off their tour opening for M83, Sun Airway kicked off a west coast tour with Portland'sPure Bathing Culture last week. Sunday they played The Satellite in Los Angeles with local opener Body Parts. Pure Bathing Culture presented some shiny, layered loops over drum machine beats with a self-possessed air that radiated laid back vibes. Correspondingly, I was rather passively enjoying myself until they closed with their single, "Ivory Coast", which dropped my jaw and blew me away. This somewhat sparse three-piece conjured up utterly lovely and lush 3-part vocal harmonies. Dear Pure Bathing Culture, more harmonies please. For the love of all that's aural, more harmonies.
I'm going to be bold here, and say that Sun Airway are probably the best emerging band out of Philly, my home stomping grounds, right now. It was a treat to see them on the left coast playing to a small but dedicated crowd, and delivering a flawlessly mesmerizing performance. Sun Airway sound like memories of sunbeams breaking through the dark into rainbow mists. Their songs are carefully crafted bedroom projects brought to life on stage in burst of rhythm and sound. As I wrote in a review of their debut album, Nocturne Of Exploded Crystal Chandelier, "the sounds of this album resound from dimly lit pensive places that favor minor chords, shine, fall, and fade, but are not forgotten." Sun Airway played several songs off their 2010 release, which has continued to live up to my earlier praises, but they also played tracks from Soft Fall, their sophomore effort released by Dead Oceans on October 2nd.
Continuing a streak of aptly named albums, Soft Fall is a more subdued album, less about moments of brilliance, and more about shifting moods. Though periods of reflection are nothing new to Sun Airway's sound, this album presents lengthy periods of contemplation that leave the listener hanging in anticipation of the inevitable break into catchy dance beats. Soft Fall takes its time, delivering more thoughtfulness and more foot-tapping power painstakingly laid out in large, open sonic spaces. Thus Sun Airway's performance invites the audience in precisely thanks to it's intriguing polarity.
Sun Airway are dedicated and talented. I have every faith that their music will only continue to gain recognition. Consequently, I cannot overly recommend giving them a listen as soon as possible, if only to maximize your listening pleasure. Here's the official video for one of the first singles off Soft Fall, which was shot at the First Unitarian Church, the iconic bastion of Philly's local scene.