Read the Sun revolves around an ever-changing musical landscape drenched in brilliant rays of experimental indie rock.
The Detroit indie rock quartet of Alexa Gabriel (vocals, guitar), Jon Meyer (guitar), Sean Hussett (bass) and Joseph Jankowski (drums, percussion) beautifully fuses cinematic elements of classic, prog and alt rock to produce a soaring sonic experience on their latest five-track EP, “Living Thru,” which dropped in August.
“Living Thru” opens with a gorgeous instrumental, “Living,” to elegantly blend high-tone guitars and vibrating synths with light cymbal taps for a brief infectious sonic rotation. It seamlessly segues into an intense emotional track, “Brown Shoes,” as a metaphor for the struggle about starting a transition as a transgender woman.
Slow rhythmic drums, vibrant guitars and deep bass echo the struggle depicted throughout “Brown Shoes” – “I could walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes/And find nothing wrong with these other soles/I could take mine away/And leave nothing more.”
“One of the things we wanted to deliver in this EP is our continuous change of sound that we are beginning to solidify. We have started to amplify each of our strengths in the writing process and weed out the desire to imitate. We are currently on a good path towards fully realizing a more consistent sound,” said Read the Sun, whose members are influenced by Pink Floyd, The Flaming Lips, Radiohead and Snarky Puppy.
Together, the band recorded “Living Thru” in Gabriel’s bedroom where she runs a portable studio for recording and mixing. They also recorded their striking 2018 debut, “Music for Birds,” over nine months at a family-owned barn up north over a three-day stay. Coincidentally, bird sounds crept into every recording on their first full-length release.
Before they discovered “Music for Birds,” Read the Sun started as a jam session among four Plymouth-Canton high school friends. That jam session solidified into an official project by 2017 as the band members honed themselves as musicians and songwriters and cultivated an evolutionary sonic path.
Along their growing sonic path, Read The Sun continues to solder different sounds on “Living Thru,” including “The SacroMambo,” a dancy six-minute track that shimmies and sways with a symphony of electric guitars, drums, bass, saxophone and percussion.
In a sense, it includes hints of a Rush-esque instrumental intertwined with prog and classic rock flavors as Gabriel sings, “I got shark tooth necklace round my neck/And body builders everywhere and/Man, I had a good time/Now I never wanna leave this place/And I never wanna forget your face/I wanna spend the rest of my life here with you/Makin’ all your dreams come true.”
“We collaborated with Nate Lewis, a local saxophone player, on the track, ‘SacroMambo,’ and sought out critiques on the mixes from anyone we could find,” said Read the Sun. “While ‘Living Thru’ does have a whole cohesive story throughout, each of the songs highlights some important part of the last year of the lyricists’ life.”
The band further refines its revolutionary sound on “Inuriac,” a haunting track filled with forlorn guitar, fast drum rolls and cymbal taps, intergalactic synths and thumping bass.
It feels like a troublesome, recurring dream that’s become a reality – “Well I saw your ghost/In the frame of the door/And you cried/Won’t you come and save me/I could not/Reply.” A mesmerizing guitar solo allows the band to conquer the fear and despair.
Finally, the album’s closing track, “Thru,” weaves thoughtful acoustic and electric guitar with gentle piano to soothe one’s soul after a relationship ends – “The clock knew how you left me/In the breeze of routine/Weeping on the dirty floor/Was I ever yours?”
Earlier this month, Read the Sun reimagined this acoustic EP closer as a full band track to demonstrate their continued musical growth. It’s a promising sign of a new sonic orbit throughout 2020.
“We are incredibly happy with the music we have been writing over the past few months, and the recording process is going to be our most open to experimentation yet,” said Read the Sun. “(‘Thru’) is a good example of our evolution as arrangers and composers.”
After the release of “Thru,” Read the Sun will continue to write and record new music and perform March 28 with Fashion Week, Doctor Daisy and Medium Build at Art of Armageddon Beach Party, 1517 Putnam St., in Detroit.