Now three records into their tenure, New York-based psych outfit Steady Sun continue to go criminally overlooked. Their 2013 debut, ‘Good Evening’ was a subtle yet layered offering, with a decided focus on weaving classical instrumental elements into their cosmic-psych sound. ‘F L O R A’ arrived in 2015 and demonstrated a lighter, poppier outlook with more focus on guitars as the primary instrumentation. Now, Steady Sun surface once more with their third studio album ‘Indifferent World’, and again takes a different approach to songcraft.
Indifferent World is largely a solo work by frontman Dylan Nowik, recorded over a period of several months. Band member and mixer Andrew Emge provides some instrumental and vocal performances to the record, as well as other members Rowan Brind, Pete Victor-Gasper and Paul Truitt. “Jive-daydream” is the self-proclaimed style of music in which they practise, an accurate description when given the contrast of dynamic tempos and ethereal soundscapes that appear on the record.
A relatively short thirty-three-minute runtime is exercised through ten concise cuts, a move away from the band’s prior tendencies to create seven-minute pieces. Steady Sun’s brew of subtle cosmic psychedelia can be epitomised in ‘Television Eyes’, a brooding cut that utilises groggy hypnotic guitar and hazy retro-synth over Nowik’s equally subdued vocals.
Influences are palpable throughout Indifferent World; the recurring lick in ‘Life At One Twenty Two’ is reminiscent of Tame Impala’s early output, as well as Beatles-esque experimentation in cuts like ‘Day Alone’ and ‘Radish’, laden with the mystics of sitar. It should be said that Steady Sun do not simply lift these styles, but do enough with them to create their own recognisable brand of psych.
Cuts such as ‘Far’ demonstrate Nowik’s ability to form interesting and mysterious soundscapes through minimalist instrumentation and stinted vocal lines. ‘Benthos’ induces a dream-like state of mind, as smooth jazz-infused drums work in tandem with delicate multi-layered guitar licks, culminating in a definite record highlight. As the metronomic intro to closing cut ‘Under the East River’ descends into another dosage of retro-synth, Nowik’s soft falsetto glides above the reverberating instrumentation.
Indifferent World is Steady Sun’s most impressive work to date. The band takes a more concise approach to songwriting, adapting and evolving their sound achieved over prior records to create a memorable style of indie psych. This outfit wholeheartedly deserves more recognition.
Essentials: Indifferent World // Television Eyes // Far // Benthos