Based in the Kingdom of Fife region of Scotland, the rising shoegazer act Sunstinger — Taylor Wright, Scott Gourlay, Bill Anderson and Nick Hernandez — features some of the region’s most accomplished musicians collaborating together with individual members playing as touring members in Oasis and The Fratellis, as well as stints with Scottish acts like Sergeant, Tomas Bird & The Blonde Spirit and Rioteers.
Since forming back in 2017, the Scottish act, which cites Joy Division, Slowdive, DIIV and The Charlatans as influences on their sound and approach have carefully honed a crowd-pleasing take on shoegaze, centered around shimmering soundscapes and enormous hooks. Within the past handful of years, the act have received airplay from BBC Radio Scotland, XS Manchester and Fresh Air Radio, as well as praise from The Sun, Gigslutz, Independent Music News and others. And adding to a growing profile across the UK, Sunstinger has played at Liverpool Sound City.
Sunstinger’s recently released EP Beyond the Frame was written and recorded over a three day period with Magnus Collie during the end of last year. “It was put together very quickly. We went into the studio with about 50 percent of the lyrics and no guitar parts,” the band’s Taylor Wright recalls in press notes. “We actually wrote ‘All My Friends Are High’ at the rehearsal the night before and Scott, our guitarist, hadn’t even heard it until he arrived at the studio the next day. For some reason the process just worked for us. We experimented with a lot of different guitar sounds as we wanted it to sound as loud as possible. We’ve left no space in the songs at all and Magnus was a big part in that too.”
Taylor goes on to explain that the EP for the band is “the sound we’ve been searching for these last few years. If it was 10 years ago, everything before this would have been a learning process towards this EP. And the EP would probably be the first thing release. In this day and age though, the way social media works, and the band bands can release material, it’s like the audience or fans come on the journey from the beginning.”
Beyond the Frame‘s latest single “All My Friends Are High” sonically is a swaggering and self-assured mix of Phil Spector Wall of Sound-like production, classic shoegaze and 90s Brit Pop featuring dense layers of towering and swirling guitars, thunderous drumming, an enormous and rousingly anthemic hook, a chugging rhythm section serving as a lush bed for plaintive vocals. The song — to my ears — manages to evoke the thoughts and sensations you’d have while tripping on hallucinogens, while being the sort of soundtrack to post-party conversations that continue into sunrise.