Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
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With his main band in the midst of a break Chris McCaughan, the Lawrence Arms co-founder found himself with too much free time and some pent up creativity. Thus “Neon Fiction”…his third album from his solo acoustic band Sundowner was born.
Obviously fans of the Lawrence Arms will find Chris’s voice very familiar. Those not familiar with Sundowner will find that his solo stuff musically is quite different. Strip away the three chords of the buzzing guitars and you will still have the same intelligent and insightful songwriting, just at a different pace. The songs sound very straightforward and honest while at times remaining shrouded in a haze of mystery. For an acoustic album there were quite a few captivating songs. “Cemetery West” kicks off “Neon Fiction” with a somewhat powerful and driving song about life catching up to you while “Wildfires” is a well-composed and arranged track about finding where you belong in said life.
While I’m not a huge fan of acoustic music or the recent trend of acoustic punk acts, “Neon Fiction” is one of the better listens. The songs are interesting and Mr. McCaughan’s lyrics can chill you to the bone one minute and lift you out of cold murky water the next. They have a simple sense of honesty and truthfulness to them. The acoustic act fits him like a glove on one hand while the other still gives you the middle finger.
Bottom Line: I enjoyed “Neon Fiction” more so than most of the other “punk goes acoustic” acts out there. It was simple and honest. Nothing more, nothing less.
Notable Tracks: Cemetery West, Wildfires, We Drift Eternal