Monday, August 2, 2010

Me Last: The Sun Surrounds Me

Beachwood Sparks: The Sun Surrounds Me


There was a time in the early part of the decade when Beachwood Sparks were poised to be my new favorite band. Especially on their second Sub Pop album, 2001's Once We Were Trees, they had all the right influences, and interesting and sometimes downright catchy songs. But a follow-up EP was a let down, and aside from a few live shows, the band has been silent ever since.

It's a shame, because songs like "The Sun Surrounds Me" are the stuff that keeps this music junkie alive. Musically, it's a direct descendant of Gram Parsons' "Cosmic American Music", with a splash of The Band in the bridge. Lyrically, it's an interesting song. With a title like "The Sun Surrounds Me", you're expecting some sunshine pop, but in the context of the song, the title becomes decidedly darker ("the sun surrounds me, and all I'm seeing are the dark times").

But, as it turns out, this song about a relationship in trouble is full of optimism after all ("I'm telling you lover, so we can see it through", "we're gonna turn it around"). One can't help but extrapolate the meaning of the lyrics to the state of the band itself at the time (indeed, in the final chorus, "I'm telling you lover" becomes "I'm telling you brother"). So hope remains, that they can "see it through" and realize the potential they showed back in 2001.

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