[sic] Magazine

High Sunn – Missed Connections

There’s no denying “bandcamp rock” is a genre all to itself these days; in retrospect, it’s silly only how long it’s taken to be identified as a movement all of its own. It’s a sound dominated by the Americans and currently championed by the likes of Car Seat Headrest, thoroughly modern mid-fi indie of mixed quality thanks, in part, to its inherently DIY attitude. Consequently some of it can, through little fault of its own and rather the sheer number of its practitioners, feel a little disposable and Bay Area musician High Sunn, aka 18-year-old Justin Cheromiah, is probably no different in this regard, his more lightweight material ensuring both wheat and chaff are caught on the merest breeze, hints of dreamy indie-pop contemporaries such as Wild Nothing, Craft Spells and Beach Fossils often frustratingly near.

Self-taught through YouTube tutorials and with a substantial amount of bedroom recordings in his wake, Missed Connections is Cheromiah’s debut studio full-length and, with so much music in the bank, its 30-minute brevity is both a surprise and also a smart introduction to a rising songwriter. A catalogue of youthful high and lows, Cheromiah is thus full of laidback jangle-pop one minute, wistful smears of unrequited melody the next, his vocal a slack drawl amidst the surging fuzz of “I Thought You Were There” and a gruff falsetto against a back-drop of budget garage-surf on the pogoing “Those Last Words”.

A weak middle lit up only by delightfully blissful guitar dappling in “Banh Mi” does him few favours, but Missed Connections is more than saved by a strong finish, the utterly charming “Dedication” first hop, skip and jumping around like the most upbeat parts of The Smiths‘ canon without, it must be said however, their lyrical dexterity. There’s some more neat guitar action on “Freshman Year” too, probably the album’s most well-rounded full-band composition, those guitars levelling up just as Cheromiah finds vocal stability too, the result not a million miles away from Dylan Baldi’s Cloud Nothings. Closing out with the infectiously optimistic “Hoho Market”, a joyous account of falling for a girl bursting with heart-on-sleeve choruses, Cheromiah revels in simplicity – a timely reminder to all of us, perhaps, that that’s sometimes all that’s needed.

Best track: “Freshman Year”

~Missed Connections is out May 4th 2018 via PNKSLM.~