“The Sun’s Exploding” is a single off Mellowpunk’s debut album, I Don’t Think Two People Could Have Been Happier Than We Have Been, released last month. It’s exciting, creative indie pop-rock brought to life by excellent performances and some fantastic production choices.
The band has described their sound as “somewhere between indie pop and psych rock.” To my ears, they’re a heavy dose of 90’s DIY rock paired with some of the newer evolutions of bedroom pop. It makes me think of Palehound, IAN SWEET, maybe Lala Lala. There’s a lot of really lovely roughness to the sound – a kind of garage-y sensibility that’s matched by the band’s performances. Everything sounds really confident – not at all self-conscious about the song’s rough edges. It’s got the energy of a basement live show – a bit thrashy, a bit peppy. It sounds like a daytime dance party, all denim, and bare feet. It’s an infectious vibe, full of catchy riffs, creative fills, shouted vocals, and some fun, quirky production tricks.
This energy is matched by the song’s really creative structure. The track is full of distinct parts – everything is transitions, new melodies, groove switches that are reminiscent of math rock. Much of the credit here goes to the band’s drummer, and to some excellent production choices. The band includes these brief creative flashes throughout the track – a bit of panned vocals, a splash of fuzzy, glittery synths, some truly psych rock lead guitar – that keep the song really engaging. The track opens with what sounds to me like an old movie bite descending into a fuzzy wall of reverb. The groove starts to form beneath this blanket of sound, muffled and spacy, till the lead vocals enter, and the whole track pops out fully formed and glittering. To me, little creative pops like this are deeply bedroom pop – they remind me of the SoundCloud beat scene from about ten years ago, which was full of producers throwing creative, context-switching musical elements throughout their tracks. These little moments make “The Sun’s Exploding” a really attention-keeping listen.
Lead singer Maddy McClure, who joined the band during the pandemic, also does a fantastic job on the track. Her performance is harrowing – various levels of yelling her head off, and spitting scathing lyrics. “Feel my eyes inside your head space/ Dig your thoughts out/Spill your guts out.” It’s a lot of intense, violent stuff rendered in vivid, slightly surreal language – “Wish you’d black out/Wish you’d cut through your mouth” – but I also think there’s something slightly tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing. I find some of the lines pretty damn funny, like “How’d you forget me/I’m your fucking boyfriend/You sneak out in silence/You’re better friends with your coven.” In any case, it’s thrilling stuff, and McClure’s throat shredding, punked-out performance is really charismatic.