With the combined powers of five musicians from New Jersey, Suntitle currently helps to carry the torch of early 2000’s emo rock. The band shares the same birth-state as the genre-evolving band The Early November, but is anyone going to complain when such influence continues to produce these sweetly somber sounds? Suntitle has toured their humming, head-nodding tunes along the East Coast, landing back home with their second EP in mind, Pure Forever.
In some ways, Pure Forever could be considered a sequel to their previous EP, The Loss Of – also alluding to substance abuse, loss, and a sadness that is catalyzed and magnified by these themes. A variety of emo styles are displayed with each song, perhaps with The Early November, Brand New, Boys Night Out, and Turnover in mind.
“Big Jawn” is the easy-going introduction to the whirlwind of emotions and events expressed in the subsequent three songs. Distorted guitars and varying cymbals in each ear throw us right into character and emotions at the start. The tune’s chorus, “And you can’t slow down” is repeated, and hints at a potential bad habit with potentially bad results. The trippy music video reflects this – the opening scene shows someone waking up, struggling through a room, perhaps hung over and retracing their steps from the previous evening.
Rhythmic bass and guitar reverb grunge influences are apparent in “Squirrel Hill,” along with slow, devastated and depressed lyrics. The bass lines carry the listener through consistent guitar strums throughout the song. At about a third of the way through the song, a pause and drumstick taps cleverly break apart what might otherwise become a droning tune. Halfway through, “Buried a bottle in your grave” is sung-yelled, waking the listener up to an emotional reaction to a death. This theme, mixed with a destructive drinking habit (“Sorry that I’m not sober / Just for a minute / Sorry that I’m not sober / I guess I missed it”) emphasizes a feeling of unforgiving sorrow.
Echoing acoustics open this quiet tune – imagine a dark and empty room, where you can only see dark blue hues, and feel dark blue sadness. Really, that’s what the title track “Pure Forever” invokes in its minute and 40 seconds. Perhaps reminiscent of the band Brand New’s acoustic songs, it’s a forced break, a truly somber tune among the thumping drums and distorted guitars. “Left my keys in your car / Left my heart on your floor / Locked my soul in your drawer” indicates hurt and loneliness, amplified by echoing vocals. At the end, we’re asked, “Why can’t we be pure forever?” It’s a sad recognition that leaves a heavy feeling on the heart.
The EP perks the listener back up with a crashing first few seconds in “Milligram,” then segues into vocals reminiscent of Knuckle Puck and The Early November. “Erase the pain / Comprehension lost / No emotion gained” don’t devastate quite as much as the preceding tunes do, but carry on an overall numbness. The catchier notes lull the listener into a lighter feeling, then jerk the song to a sudden stop, before a distorted guitar note fizzles the collection to a close.
With how clean and thought-out Pure Forever sounds, it’s apparent that sometimes “less is more.” This four-song EP is quick, but shows the listener different ways to end up feeling numb, and displays Suntitle’s ability to make old sounds that may have inspired them anew. Look for this EP on April 24th via Know Hope Records, but enjoy “Big Jawn” via music video or music service right now! Nod along if their upcoming 10-stop East Coast tour is rescheduled.