There is a moment of consciousness when you close your eyes and hear a voice, and cannot tell if it’s outside the door you just closed or inside the dream you were about to open. This moment bridges the breathless runaround we call reality and the floating blissfulness of our imagination. This is the moment out of which Sundress gleans their psychedelic-pop sound.
This five-piece Denton, Texas band is created by principal members Ryan McAdams, bassist Drew McCary, and guitarist Kennon Talley. Due to legal matters and band member changes, former band names (This Old House, ODYSSEY) were ditched and keyboardist Jim Harrington and drummer Brack Cantrell were included; Sundress was formed. Within one year, Sundress was nominated for a Dallas Observer Music Award for Best New Band. They opened for acts like Washed Out, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Mister Heavenly, and Tame Impala, and played their shoegaze psych rock at festivals like South by Southwest, 35 in Denton, and Free Press Fest in Houston. Today, Sundress releases their six-song self-titled debut.
If you imagine Pink Floyd atmospheric funk with swirls of Beatles ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ cheerfulness, drizzled with breathy Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) vocals, you begin to get an idea of Sundress’s new millennia psychedelic sound. They can groove as well as any retro-rock 70s band, yet blast out a wall of noise that rivals the best shoegaze bands of today.
The effervescent beginning of the album presents “Middle of Here” bubbling upward from classic rock depths. “Bloom” unravels dream pop catchiness, and “Derelict” floats you along dreamy vibrations while echoing, “It’s so real.” It’s the greatest day of your life, the very real dream that brings you to pinch yourself because surely life cannot be so wonderful.
Once Sundress lures you into the hypnosis, they rev up the rock with “Page of Wands,” sporting an Oasis influence. That might be considered redundant after the mention of the Beatles influence but this song carries a sound that’s particularly Gen-X.
Sundress’s originality unfolds especially in the two ending tracks, “Sailor’s Vision” and “Thirteen.” Atmospheric and dreamy, but rhythmic enough to keep your mind wrapped in reality. This is the sunshine goodness of Sundress. So blissful you think you’re dreaming as you feel your footsteps tread along the street.