Just as their title suggests, Sunjacket’s debut full-length Mantra, is a meditative reflection of sought-after success, showcasing succinct verses and ’80s synths as motifs. Weaving blinking synth beats around scintillating guitar riffs, the album is an expansive exploration of human compulsions. The Chicago-based foursome struggles with notions of power, anxiety, and control, which warps Mantra into a surreal album that walks a melancholic tightrope. Lead vocalists Bryan Kveton and Carl Hauck are chilling in delivery, sounding robotically passionate in a way that’s reminiscent of Fyfe’s Paul Dixon and even Thom Yorke at moments.
Introductory track “Grandstanders” addresses what might be an innate competitive drive to “Dress up, best foot forward/ Grandstand guests, we’re all guests” — a mantra, yes, but also words that hold monotonous dread. The album’s final opus explores the idea of the concentrative hymn more optimistically, as words that clear the mind for success: “Fumbling for the perfect piece, wishing for the world to see/ Mantra maybe, stacking up yourself and then pulling for a victory.” Yet in the end, “Mantra” veers towards apprehension about a reality that’s ultimately disappointing (“Is this it?/It’s underwhelming”).
Mantra the album, though, is plenty satisfying — a debut that ranges from mischievous (“Alligator”) to paranoid (“Dissolve It”) in mesmerizing fashion. We’ve shared “Not Enough,” and now you can stream the whole album below.
Mantra is out 9/16. Pre-order it here.