When it comes to music, micro-‐genres fall in and out of fashion faster than a Hoxton haircut. For that reason, I am desperately trying to avoid describing Sunless 97’s “Making Waves” E.P. as Balearic. Nothing coined in the 80s, with countless resurgences thereafter could possibly be cool right now. Yet, sometimes, a term is so appropriate that it cannot be overlooked, no matter how last week it sounds.
The drenched vocals of opening track “Illuminations” for instance, spread thickly over sporadic beats and jangly synths, point squarely into the Mediterranean. The heat haze continues with “Heaven Below” and “Wicked Gravity”, both joyfully blissed out, and sequenced perfectly to create a ready-‐made daydream that is impossible to resist. If the E.P. left you at that point, with a warning not to drive or operate heavy machinery, it would still offer a generous dose of escapism. But it soon becomes clear that the preceding tracks simply serve to soften us up for the climactic “Whenever I Can”. A beautifully uplifting vocal, loosely set above trippy hi hats and instructive piano chords, starts a euphoric ascent that quickens rapidly with the addition of bubbling bass and broken drum fills. Dancing becomes imperative and yet at the same time strangely irrelevant, as melodic waves rise and fall until it ends, all too soon, with the sad realisation that you aren’t in that place.
Hopefully, a future album from Sunless 97 will allow the dream to last a bit longer, and the word Balearic can become cool again, because on this evidence -‐ it truly deserves to be.
By Tom Knight