Sunjacket know how to make an entrance. The first single off the Chicago quartet’s upcoming debut album, the long-gestating follow-up to a demo EP released back in 2013, bursts in with a wall of pulsating synths that split the difference between the slow-motion cool of the Drive soundtrack and the sustained sweep of ’80s arena-pop. Soon that showy introduction simmers down into neon lounge and lead singers Bryan Kveton and Carl Hauck deliver in syncopated chunks, “We’re looking for/ Something to keep/ Us/ Bored.” You can feel them upholding an impossible cool, as if they’re purposefully looking past you through pitch-black sunglasses.
Yet beyond the sleek calm of the duo’s layered vocals and the luminous swells bubbling up from below the surface, “Not Enough” wallows in despair. The initially warm synth pads become scratchy and urgent during the second verse, and when everything is sucked into a wormhole right before the chorus, as the two vocalists wail into the emptiness, “It’s not enough for you,” they reveal that they’re truly struggling to stay composed. When that original wall of sound blares back into the frame to draw the song to a close, it sounds not slick but regretfully somber. Listen below.
Mantra is due out this fall. You can download “Not Enough” in exchange for an email address at Sunjacket’s Bandcamp.