Unicorns & Dragons
Instrumental experimental music can say as much to the soul as songs with lyrics. It's a different kind of expression, one that loads up its message, its tones its powers, and lets them loose at random intervals, dictated by your connection to the music. It's an astounding feeling when you become lost in a soundscape that does this right, that finds the balance as well as Sun Lite does in their latest album, ‘Unicorns & Dragons.’
The album is an amalgamation of sounds, stories and textures from across the cosmos, breathing in star song and beating in dark matter, the sounds that are displayed here are all at once human and alien in their construction and arrangement. ‘The Night Hag’ begins our journey into the never-world. It's full of sparkling synths, rising and falling bass and a drone that carries colour across the sky like the aurora borealis, a tonal and textural mix that heightens that sense of vertigo Sun Lite gives us from the get-go. The sound seems to drop off of a cliff and float there, flowing from cloud to cloud, obscuring us from the true melody we are not yet ready for. When the vocals jump in they are light, breathy, doing as much as they can to float along with the song. The imagery is impeccable. It's dark, sparkling and tantalising.
This theme of massive stages continues into the album, melodies taking you back or forward in time, all with that spacey synth and a woodwind here and there. ‘Day Stallion’ and its discordant melody and funky rhythm section; ‘Trolls’ brings the sound down to an acoustic level but that scale is still there, the push and the pull of the guitar and the vocals gets you caught in the milky way. For a darker vibe, ‘Grimble Grumble’ is here to give us those long droning melodies and pulsing sub-bass licks; ‘L4-L5’ is Bowie-Esque in its delivery and its majesty, a dramatic and bright song that questions decision and does so with a — slick as all space-time — bass line percussion combo.
The title track embodies everything on the album, ‘Unicorns & Dragons’ mixes the heady fantasy lyrics of Rush with the textures of ELO in a style that is purely Sun Lite. It sums up the sounds that breathe life into the tracks that come before it, it answers our questions and digs us ever deeper into the sonic space that Sun Lite has made for us.
The sheer variety on this album is as breathtaking as the vistas it takes us to. ‘M.O.T.H.E.R’ is a spanning instrumental piece that rolls up emotion slowly, releasing it over the songs that follow. It clashes beautifully with the smaller and sweet, ‘Why…’ that grows in melancholy as it goes, guitars and pipes layering to create a miasma of sound. After this tremendous journey, Sun Lite finishes the album with ‘Not The End,’ a short but sweet acoustic-based number that focuses on the vocals for the first time. We come full circle, we have seen the cosmos, now let us look at its creatures. A sound worth living for, searching for and exploring for. ’Unicorns & Dragons’ is better than a telescope for peering into lost galaxies