Don't let the grandiose and lengthy title deter you, Nocturne Of Exploded Crystal Chandelier, the debut full-length from Sun Airway is deserving and aptly named. Like something delicate and shimmering bursting in a dark room or in a sky without a moon, the sounds of this album resound from dimly lit pensive places that favor minor chords, shine, fall, and fade, but are not forgotten. When I first listened to this album, it was on repeat for two weeks. I put it away for a little while, and dug it back up for a recent road trip to New England. Fantastically, not only does it have lasting value, I think I like it even better this time around. The more I keep it in rotation the more I need to hear it. That's probably one of the most promising qualities an album can have.
So what songs catch my fancy? First time around I dug tracks 2 and 3, American West and the single, Oh Naoko, respectively. These songs start the album off on a high note. American West opens with a driving beat that sounds to me like hurtling westward into a sunset. And, Oh Naoko is a sweet love song with an endearing chorus about lassoing moonshine, such stuff and nonsense that tends to put a small smile on my face despite all cynicism.
Second time around I have favored some of the less shiny tracks, the songs that give this album depth and dimension. Particularly, track 7, Shared Piano, and track 9, Your Moon. Shared Piano epitomizes the tone and title of the album. Maybe the lyrics sum it up best, "you bloom and you explode" or "you stole the ivories and you left me with the black keys of our shared piano in our silver room". This is an album of temporarily burgeoning moments that fade quickly into unrequited longing, softly sad and secondary minor notes. Or, the way the backup vocals echo the near-to-tears chorus in Your Moon, coupled with a tripping, repetitive drum track and spinning compression, that make me recall the circles my thoughts turn in processing a bad breakup. Admittedly, I may be waxing overly poetical here, but I do believe that good music should either catch in the fibers of your heart, if it doesn't spark the synapses of your brain.
With mentions in Pitchfork's Forkcast, and recent tours with Small Black, School of Seven Bells, Cults and Asobi Seksu, Sun Airway is on the rise, and I'm all kinds of excited for them. Back in January I booked them to play a Graffiti Radio showcase at Mojo Main in Newark, Delaware. They were a pleasure to meet, and gave a stupendous performance complete with a brilliantly appropriate surrealist light show. Pick up a copy of Nocturne Of Exploded Crystal Chandelier now, or if you're in the Philadelphia region, catch their next hometown show presented by R5 and WXPN at the First Unitarian Church on June 3rd. Sun Airway is most definitely a band worth familiarizing yourself with now before they blow up big.