Chicago’s Sunjacket is not a measure-once, cut-once musical outfit. Bryan Kveton (vocals, synths, guitars), Carl Hauck (vocals, synths, guitars), and Garret Bodette (drums, percussion) toil over four-minute pop songs with workman-like inefficiency, at times wielding scalpels and other times axing away with almost gory abandon. The process: painstakingly thoughtful. The result: an owner’s manual printed in three different languages, only to be set ablaze and rewritten from scratch by its translators.
Today Sunjacket has released the single “Passenger.” The track will be highlighted on the band’s upcoming album Lifelike, slated for release in June. “We often joked that elements of this song came together in a somewhat automatic way. We’d add to it, forget about it, add a bit more. In a way, it felt like we weren’t even working on it, but it was somehow getting done,” said Hauck. “It started with this bouncy, toy-like synth—a convenient leftover from a previously-saved project. As we began to flesh out other sections, we moved into some harder-hitting sonic territory. So, it seemed fitting to write lyrics that felt playful but at the same time a little biting. To me, the song’s about being trapped in the trappings of hyper-convenience—about how disturbingly easy it is to become both more and more demanding, and more callous to the conditions that make such convenience possible.”
On More Lifelike, the follow-up to 2016’s Mantra, Sunjacket’s synth-driven art rock vibrates with an internal tension, managing to feel both grand and intimate, exacting and ethereal, optimistic and brooding. Dark, yet ornamented with shards of melodic lightness, the record’s spatial sound design and acoustic-electronic hybrid beats envelop the songwriting like sun-pricked fog.
Infused with palpable yearning, lush arrangements threaten to crack at their static-filled edges. Skittering rhythms leap and convulse below silken electronic washes. Voices hover at the breaking point between full and falsetto, imbued with a blend of introspection and world-weariness. It’s the soundtrack to that elusive moment just before limbo finally gives way to movement.
More Lifelike is brought to you by vacated wallpaper, cross-examined self-doubt, reckless euphoria, and a purgatorial chase for more. The album—shrink-wrapped both to alleviate and heighten your anxiety—was engineered and produced in collaboration with Fraser McCulloch, mixed by Brett Bullion, and mastered by Huntley Miller. You’ll find its authors in the low-traffic aisles of your local hardware megastore, patiently awaiting intervention, divine or orange-aproned.
To preorder Lifelike, go to Sunjacket’s Bandcamp site.