Suburbs – “The Sound of the Sea” and “The Rise and Fall of Everything”
Photo by Iwan de Brabander
Suburbs is an indie rock band from Scheveningen, Netherland launched in 1995. The band that has its roots in the eighties and nineties achieved national exposure when they won the national contest “De Grote Prijs van Nederland” (The Grand Prize of the Netherlands), the largest and longest-running music competition in the country. In 2013 lead singer Arie Spaans and two earlier band members got together to reignite the band’s original iconic sound. The ensuing singles and music videos led to their mini EP “Masters” in 2016. A year later they released another mini EP entitled “Paralyzed”, and then in 2018 went on to release their first song in Dutch, entitled “de Zang van de Zee”. In 2019 Suburbs published the English version, along with 7 other tracks, which evolved into the album “The Sound of the Sea”.
I can’t stop listening to this album, over and over, something I haven’t done in a long time. Each time I do play it, I like it even more. This music is melodious, dreamy, yet urgent and crunchy in its own way. Suburbs is no throwback, but I am reminded of The Beatles, the Moody Blues, Strawbs, and lots of other melodic pop and rock bands I was too spaced to catch the names of at the time.
Suburbs’ lyrics perfectly match their melodies. They tell you just enough of ‘the story’ so that you, the listener, can fill in the rest from your own experiences. Then, it becomes your song, too. This was the prerogative of some legendary bands.
It is cathartic as hell to know another person has been to the ‘places’ you have been. You realize that it isn’t just you. Others have felt these emotions, too. It’s part of life. I am thrilled that I stumbled onto Suburbs and “The Sound of the Sea”.
It’s just a great album that flows perfectly from song to song, taking you for a glorious musical ride, on stacked harmonies within beautiful melodies, and deep lyrics, backed by lushly layered instrumentation. The album opens up with galaxy-sized guitars playing over percussion that feels like worlds colliding.
This supernova sound accompanies a lyrical trip that is artfully rendered. Suburbs take full advantage of modern studio technology to create a sound that has throwback influences but still sounds completely modern, and they lay it all bare on “Resolutions”.
Moving forward, you’ll find minor traces of REM, The Strokes, The Arctic Monkeys, and so much more, as Suburbs meld the modern with the nostalgic. They ignore barriers and boundaries in their music.
So one minute you’ll come up against the urgent, fully fleshed out arrangement of “The Rise and Fall of Everything”. And then the next, the jangling, ever-evolving dream-pop motif of the title track, “The Sound of the Sea”. This album blends together the greatest things happening in new music today, with what has traditionally worked in the past; trippy keys, crunchy driving guitars, engaging percussion, and interwoven melodies.
Swirling guitars, evocative and melodic bass lines, as well as soaring vocals meets you on “Some Kind of Relief”, before “Forgotten Dreams” bathes you in a flood of rich, shimmering strings. This is a record that’s loaded with clean, radio-friendly, arena-ready melodic grooves, and “Face The World”, definitely sits in the front row of the bunch.
Lovely, raw guitar riffs and a wall of persuasive strings surround the addicting vocals, when the album eventually comes to a close on “Staring at the Face of God”. Every song is creative, but catchy enough for mass appeal.
“The Sound of the Sea” is one of those albums you can pop in and just push play. Whether it’s the riffs, the vocal hooks, or the arrangements, there are too many great moments on this album to pin point.
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