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Hold on folks, we got a live one here.

Having only been together a fairly short amount of time, Boston's Suntan appears confident and level-headed toward a promising musical journey. With the release of their three-song Suntan EP they've set off the alarm and laid out the proposition for space exploration. First on board is "L # 249747," an airy, dark 'n brooding odyssey that doesn't come at you as much tempt you to dive in. Dominic Mariano helps lay the groundwork with crude drumming while Lindsay Arth's keys and Nick Holdzkom's singing sonically envelop the guitars of Scott Endres and Holdzkom. And with eleven minutes of length on "L # 249747," Suntan has plenty of time to relax--expand and contract.

"Bag It Up" is a lot shorter at only about four-minutes. It's a more rockin' side of Suntan--simple and direct, as if they had awaken from a slumber. Arth's keys play a smaller role and give room to the ringing twin guitars and Holdzkom's bare singing. It's kind of heavy, like a busy overcast day or a cool breezy night, showing progress, admitting sorrow, but promising hope. In between "Bag It Up" and "Soak Up The Rays" we get a two-minute feedback session, slightly unnecessary but a nice breakup of the monotony. Then comes "Soak Up The Rays," the song that finishes off the Suntan EP on a promising note. It glimmers with humming keys and lulling guitar and drums, Holdzkom's vocals swaying in the breeze. It's a doozey that also clocks in at about ten or eleven minutes.

If Suntan's upcoming full-length is anything like the EP then we should have a lot to look forward to. The songs segued nicely together and went out picking berries without us sitting bored at home. No, this psychedelic space-rock adventure isn't dull--not from Suntan. -Rob Heater


All Music Guide

Suntan's promising debut consciously evokes the neo-psychedelic space rock renaissance of the early '90s, constructing vibrant, pulsating guitar epics complete with droning electronic accents that recall bands like Spectrum and Jessamine. Despite comprising just three songs, the EP clocks in at a collective 26 minutes, over which the band reveals a solid grasp of scope and depth - the songs earn their epic length by accruing scale as they expand, amassing colorful new layers of sonic sheen. Most importantly, the bombast is supported by actual songs - the centerpiece "Bag It Up" in particular boasts a memorably laconic melody that could stand on its own, regardless of six-string pyrotechnics. -Jason Ankeny



Are they putting something freaky in the water down in Beantown these days? At first, the mind-bending psychedelia of the Major Stars seemed like an aberration. Then I hit on The Common Cold, which bent feedback into similar guitar rainbows. Now it's on to Suntan, whose three-song EP winds and crashes its way through an acid-washed palette of undiscovered colors. Ladies and gentlemen, is it coincidence or trend? Has Boston become the new San Francisco?

Suntan is the quintessential good trip, its euphoric sound buoyed by the childish tones of a Bontempi organ played by Lindsay Arth. In fact, the opening track, "L # 249747", (probably the title seemed like a good idea at the time) starts with a single, slow-building organ tone, that stands alone for more than a full minute. Then the more conventional sound of eighth-note dueling guitars kicks in, with drums joining about 30 seconds later. The organ note, nasal as a bagpipe, floats between two tones. The words, spoken more than sung, seem incidental and emo-standard, but the dense interplay of guitars, organ and drums makes it all worthwhile. Four minutes in, the piece completely changes in nature, with the two guitars challenging each other into a feedback freakout that lasts for the rest of the eight minute track.

"Bag It Up," which follows, reveals a heavy debt to Pavement, with distorted guitars battling for thick, fuzzy dominance. Dick Holdzkum's warbling voice rides a tidal wave of instrumental flotsam. Don't grab too hard at the lines he's throwing you, though; it is far better to sink into the swirling waves of sound. The final track, "Soak up the Rays", is built on a dense bedding of echoing guitars whose lines hook into and under one another.

All three tracks go on for a bit, and each could easily be split into two (or more) better-unified ideas. Still, if you look for guitars that carry you into the stratosphere, you don't have to go much further than Suntan. -Jennifer Kelly


Ink 19

This a new animal in the Kimchee stable of ponies. Indie rockers through and through, the members of Suntan have been around. The music they make together is beautiful, fluid, and triumphant.

While I was listening this three-song EP, I was reminded of the late Polvo, without the math rock sensibilities. Add more grandiose sounding guitars, a la Verbena. The lead vocalist's voice is buried in walls of guitar and and some type of strange synthesizer, called a "bontempi organ."

Interestingly, the average length of each song is around eight minutes, so it's not like this is some ten-minute EP deal.

At times, I was reminded of Dirty-era Sonic Youth, i.e. walls of guitar crafted in an arty and somewhat pristine manner. The EP's last track, "Soak Up the Rays," ends with weird guitar and synthesizer craziness that holds steady on one note for the last two minutes or so.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Suntan is an interesting band, and I'll be happy to hear what their full length, expected in the spring of 2003, will be like. This is what you would expect from a new band getting used to each other, but it's more than that. There's an indescribable something about Suntan... Give this one a whirl. -Daniel Mitchell


Mundane Sounds

Are you sick of all these "new rock" pretenders to the Lou Reed drugged-out rock and roll throne? Then Suntan have something new to offer you, but their sound is far from new. Imagine Mudhoney's fetish for Spaceman 3 and you'll be right-on. This is hazy, illicit mind-music for a new generation, that's neither retro nor boring. "L # 249747" kicks off the affair, with a fuzzy, hazy drone and stoned morning-after singing that sounds like Ian Curtis waking up from the dead. The nice thing about it, though, is that the song never sounds like Joy Division! The song fades into "Bag It Up" with strained vocals and more of a rock and roll punch, but "rock" is such a relative term. After a long fade-in, the EP ends with "Soak Up The Rays" which deceives your ears as it grows louder and louder and more cerebral. Suntan's an exciting contender out there in the hazy, drugged-out world of music made by those who are taking drugs to make music to take drugs to.


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