By Ezra Morris
To all of you who were at the Doublewide for this Sundress performance, we’re sorry about the ringing in your ears. We know that a full recovery might not be a realistic possibility. At least you won’t forget the performance.
Sundress, a quintet from Denton, TX, transfixed attendees with their roaring hybrid of psychedelic rock and shoegaze filtered through pop fundamentals. Imagine Roger Waters taking a stab at writing the Bends while being baked by the heat and haze of a Texas summer. It’s like that.
The band’s carved out a space somewhere between the 90s alt worship of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the blissed out atmospherics of Washed Out, and the fuzzed-out trippiness of the Black Angels, this week’s curators. A plethora of effects pedals and megatons of reverb can often be the earmarks of bands that have a slippery grasp on their craft and little more than a faint trace of genuine vision. Not so for these guys. Buoyant, lush rhythms propel the songs while the haunted falsetto of vocalist Ryan McAdams elevates the band to emotional peaks not achieved by many who have experimented with a similar sonic palette.
Sundress transmutes the rain-soaked realities of their canonized shoegaze godfathers into a sound that reflects the Lone Star State. With heat indexes regularly hiking over a hundred degrees and perpetual droughts an inescapable reality, Sundress crafts a strain of shoegaze that sweats and swells with an appropriately reflective vitality. Austin (and the rest of us) better be ready.