I’m ill, in self-isolation due to the virus crisis, and craving an album that will simultaneously flick a switch in my brain and allow my body to dance, yet not induce the reality of throwing up. It’s an irritating catch twenty-two obstacle, but after listening to Sustains aptly named and latest EP, Sick Ones, the reaction above occurred minus the infested sweetcorn and pea bile. Result!
Sustains are from Moorpark, a city in Ventura County in Southern California. I’ve never visited, but after looking through all the Google image results, it looks picturesque; like a Claude Oscar Monet painting. Beautiful. Around town, you’ll probably find Alex Gramajo, the creative genius and founder of the band. I reckon if we ever met, we’d be best friends. Storytime, this is how it would go down.
*Cue the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Spotify playlist. Thanks.*
Daniel: “Hi, Alex. What music do you like?”
Alex: “Big Star, Teenage Fanclub, Neil Young, The Byrds.”
Daniel: “Cool! Me too.”
We’re besties now. Cool. Back to the music.
Sustains aren’t your typical lo-fi pop act, and Sick Ones isn’t what you’d expect from them either. It’s weightless and alive, bound by no limits, and one hell of a release. Akin to Deerhunter and No Age, you can feel the tears and passion shredding from the guitar, the memories flowing from the lyrics, and the personality and originality glowing throughout the EP. WHAT. AN. EXPERIENCE.
Kicking it all off was Golden Halo; a punchy piece of music with a therapeutic adventure. This is a song you should play while riding your bike through the countryside with your friend. Cough, Alex, cough. Sorry, the cold’s kicking in.
The next track, Game, does a complete three-sixty. No more Mr Nice Guy, Alex is here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and he’s all out of bubblegum. Scary. Seriously, though, this isn’t a song to ignore. If you do, you’ll regret it, and probably end up with a black eye in the process.
Holy Chord, holy indeed. This is my favourite song on the EP. It has guts; it has gusto; it has everything you want from a lo-fi pop song. There are twinkly guitars, erratic drum heartbeats, and more importantly, pretty and relatable vocals. Cute.
Like any good film, Sick Ones has all the elements of a banger, and an ending to die for – unfortunately, its a bad one. No, I digress, I just didn’t want it to stop. Razor Apples is the final piece of the jigsaw. Sad to think of, but ultimately, and following Sustains previous work, it will allow the band to create another gem in the future. Exciting.
To end on what was an excellent encounter, I would like to thank Alex Gramajo and the rest of Sustains for masterminding something unique and special; an EP that is truly worth purchasing and looking after. And guess what? You can. Set to be released on the 20th of March via Hidden Bay Records, you can grab your very own copy digitally or on tape by clicking the link here. If you don’t, Alex will hate my guts. You don’t want that now, do you?!? Cheers.