Streetlight Fire – The Sun Stands Still
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: June 5, 2013
Streetlight Fire may not exactly be a well-known name in the pop-rock scene today, but they should be. Hinting at artists such as The Dangerous Summer and The American Scene, their EP, Architects, caught my ear in the spring of 2011. Now two years later, it looks like their debut full length, The Sun Stands Still, will be getting some regular spins throughout the summer, blending upbeat tunes with innately dark songs. Dryw Owens was the perfect producer to go to for this sound, as his work with From Indian Lakes and Consider The Thief shines through within these songs.
From the moment the guitars kick in to start off “Thunder” and the opening line “So what if I’m just starved for attention / There are far worse things to accuse me of” flies out of the speakers, it’s pretty evident that we are in for a personal ride through the sun. The opener comes packs a memorable chorus courtesy of the dual vocals of Joshua Cosico and Keaton Nelson. Both “Healing” and “Rapture” follow the opener in similar fashion, with the former exercising exactly why this band’s lyrics deserve every compliment: “I know my best intentions were awfully composed / I dressed some sins up in some colors less belligerent.” How’s that for thoughtful lyrics you’ll remember?
While the beginning of the record makes you roll the windows down and nod along in approval, the road quickly gets darker. From the second “Everest” begins, the distanced and haunting vocals begin the travel down a gloomier road. The lyric “My mother said don't you dare start fires / That you can't put out on your own” is sung with such haunting commonplace that it resonates even more. A line like that wedged into any song is enough to turn a head, let alone when it’s so unexpectedly placed in here. However, where the track really hits home is due to the layered vocals and repetition of “You have taken so much from me.”
As the road looks gloomier, “Young Souls” has detached guitar plucks slowly dancing behind the haunting pronunciation of “Young souls need a place to vent” as the darkest and best song the record begins. Again, the layering gives the track even more weight, as the repetition throughout the chorus creates a choir-like chant – chilling and cold. The later line of “I'm not the same as I was before my heart became seasoned” is just as unsettling, showing quite a different side of Streetlight Fire than the sun-soaked opening tracks.
Switching up form another mellow dark cut to an all out rocker, “Lost Cause” displays some of the best growth on the record. As the track beings, the line “I lost a lot of blood breaking things I love over you / Was it worth your time?” is sung in a desperate whisper, yet it later sung out at full volume, giving the line a different weight and feel all together. Moments like this set Streetlight Fire aside from other younger bands, as the track alternates from softly cutting to an upbeat anthem on a dime throughout its four minutes.
As the acoustic “Rest” closes the record, the darkness ceases as the sun begins to creep into the sky, slowly, as Cosico realizes, “I was afraid of losing / What never was,” and concludes the record with hope: “Leave your eyes unlocked / Let the sun sneak in, and cave in to love / This pain will lift.” A record eclipsed with darkness yet ending with sunlight, The Sun Stands Still has to be one of the most impressive debut records of the year. Don’t sleep on this one.