If you’re leaving Asian Man for Topshelf, I’m pretty much down. No worries because both labels are spot on. When Virginia’s Sundials opted for this move, I was one of the eager ones. I loved their alternative-indie meets pop-punk take in the past and I felt this was a record they could branch off with. run wild and experiment on a bit more. In that sense, I’m disappointed. Because Kick sticks to their stylistic guns and doesn’t wander off too much…but still, what Sundials do best…they do here. And along the way, they do shake things up a bit to give a good indication as to how far they’ve come. And more importantly, where they may be heading.
“Dealin'” as an opener is their usual vibrant, energetic stance which when weighed against the more melodic and reverb-filled closer in “Eugene” brings to light one thing – these songs are made for Menzingers’ fans. It’s most welcomed and a tune-up to bring the band’s essence out a bit more – in terms of bouncy pop-punk guitars and swift, dynamic fretboard riffin’. Kick’s very catchy and ideally should have been a summer record as it’s filled with college tones but still, it’s something so much more than a scene record. Juvenile but solid in terms of storytelling.
The bass-driven flair of the record’s another high point which sees their usual shtick transcend beyond melodramatic punk. Sundials’ identity is felt deeply on tracks like “Stun Spore” and “Kick” which keep up with the band’s spunky essence a la Superchunk. Not to sound too bland, but it’s a fucking fun record. Then again, that’s what Sundials usually do. Maybe next time they’ll rough it a bit more but for now, the transitionary state they’re in is a pretty neat spot to be in. Here’s to seeing what they do for a new LP.