Sundowner - Little Elephant Sessions (Cover Artwork)


Little Elephant Sessions (2014)

Fat Wreck Chords

[[Ed– This is a counter review to this reivew]]

Sundowner is the acoustic project of Chris McCaughan, who is the other third of The Lawrence Arms and hails from Chicago, Illinois. He has released 3 full length albums under the said pseudonym and has been a staple on the punk scene for donkeys years. Whilst on tour last autumn, he stopped by "Little Elephant'"in Toledo and did some live recordings. Upon realising the quality of the sessions, he decided to release the 4 track EP of them. Three of the tracks come from other Sundowner albums and one is a Lawrence Arms track.

The EP starts with "Cemetery West" which is the first track off the latest album Neon Fiction. It's as you would expect, stripped down and bare but I think this is how McCaughan is at his best. Laying down the acoustic punk with melodic vocals, he uses the cemetery as a metaphor and touches on the issue of being stuck and coming back to the same people and haunts, swearing he "won't let the darkness catch me this time".

The second song '"Great Lakes/Great Escapes" is the Larry Arms tune which is found on the 2006 album Oh! Calcutta!, the vibe is carried on as with the track before but this takes on a slightly more dark, melancholy tone with references to loneliness, love and isolation but even with dark lyrical content this is redeemed by the sing along chorus that Lawrence Arms fans have come to love. The song ends with "All my friends are going out tonight / And I can't sit here waiting for another day to die.../ Fuck all this ancient history," so I guess he will be going out after all then!

"Midsummer Classic" is from 2009 Sundowner album Four One Five Two which is a bit more relaxed than the first two tracks which lets McCaughan show off a bit more intricate guitar work. Once again we are painted a picture, this time of summer, capturing some interesting metaphors of the City at night and day. The final track "In the Flicker" featured on 2010's We Chase the Waves starts off on a slow, just like the previous track but gains momentum towards the end.

A theme that has run throughout these tracks are ones of ghosts of the past, living in the moment and bitter relationships to people and places. One thing that stands out on the EP is that the recording first class, congrats to Little Elephant for pulling that off. So if your looking for a nice little fix of acoustic punk or if your a big fan of Sundowner or The Lawrence Arms, then I suggest you give it a spin.