Shuggy Mtn Breakdown, the debut full-length from Northampton, MA quintet Sun Parade (October 13, 2017) is a full-wrought artistic statement, road-tested in basement shows and packed houses along Route 9 in the band’s home territory of Western Massachusetts. Chris Marlon Jennings grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, busking on the streets. He met Jeff Lewis in 2008 at a tribal gathering of old friends and families in Maine. Lewis, a mandolin player and islander, was due at Berklee on scholarship but after a semester in Boston he moved west to work with Jennings. That collaboration forms the creative core of Sun Parade.
Jennings writes by and large in the language of existential howl, wherein life, love and the pursuit of happiness are a highway pile-up where the rubberneckers get out and dance. Lewis spins ethereal, psychedelic glowing pop benevolence, songs sung into an old Fostex recorder and sent out into the world in strands of metaphysic werewolves and sunshine. The dichotomy between the two writers builds an outliers’ love fest, a condition Oscar Wilde once described as living in the gutter with stardust falling on us.
Over time Jennings and Lewis built the five-piece that is Sun Parade; Karl Helander on drums, percussion, harmonies, and ambient barking, Max Wareham on bass, and Eli Salus-Kleiner on keys (Wareham and Salus-Kleiner joined after the record was complete). Recorded in a one-room studio on the 4th floor of an old industrial building somewhere in Brooklyn near lots more buildings and factories just like it, Shuggy Mtn Breakdown is frenetic and well-cured. Heart-hammering, smiley, full of woody tones and iron bones, the record is a freak-out explosion of weirdo power pop and heavy hippy grunge, soul music and rock’n’roll. It’s a band on a precipice, having a laugh and a good cry.
Glide is proud to premiere the video for “Cheer Up” a hook line and sinker winner of ragged mischief and melody. Like Dr. Dog, Delta Spirit and Islands, Sun Parade offers a candid DIY approach to music that makes them endearing but musically accomplished.