Review: "Smiles with No Teeth" by Sun System

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If you feel disillusionment with the modern world and the seemingly endless barrage of information, Sun System is here to help soothe your ears with a wall of sound on “Smiles With No Teeth.” 

With “Smile With No Teeth,” Phoenix, Arizona quintet Sun System simultaneously paints a picture of the anguish of our modern world while also providing us with an textured sonic landscape to escape to. If you’re a fan of Ride, Nothing, Swirlies, or Dredg, you'll like.

Beginning with serene strummed electric guitars spaciously filling up the stereo field, compressed drums cut through as the first verse begins with vocalist Cory Nicol smoothly and clearly delivering lyrics of disbelief at the world around him: 

“First of all, I laughed out loud; 
I couldn't believe that the world had gone to hell” 

Sizzling tambourine accents pepper the sonic canvas, and guitars subtly using a tapping technique in the background during the verses add legato movement.

It all builds up to a massive wall of sound at 2:18, delivering savagely beautiful noise that never loses focus or clarity, culminating in Nicol’s passionate defeat as he sings “This perfect world we’ll never have.”

After more swirling guitars and huge drums drive the song to its climax, a long instrumental outro teeming with whispers of noise carries the song to its end, while subtly fading out as percussive drum sticks click. 

Individual anguish and deteriorating mental health as a result of the world around us are real struggles, but so is the power of healing in music. “Smiles With No Teeth” gives the listener comfort in solidarity as we all work through the tumult of our modern world together. 

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Sun System

Sun System is from Phoenix, Arizona and consists of Cory Nicol, Curt Griffin, Nathan Bolek, Christopher Garcia, and Lorenzo Paniagua. Their new EP “Strange Ways We Meet” is out now. 

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Luke Culbertson

The musical project of Seattle-dwelling singer/songwriter Luke Culbertson, Lofty Stills envelopes the listener in an effortless fusion of Alt-Country and Dream Pop: lush instrumentation and yearning tenor vocals, woven into collections of sound.