[sic] Magazine

Sun Airway – Nocturne Of Exploded Crystal Chandelier

Much has been thrown at Philadelphia duo Sun Airway by way of comparison, the vague hope being that something would stick: frequently Animal Collective ( Panda Bear ), repeatedly a lost Sofia Coppola soundtrack. There’s even been a hopeful “post-shoegaze” attempt at classification.

However, thanks to Jon Barthmus ‘s sometimes-falsetto vocal, these ears struggle to get beyond Stephen Jones , aka Babybird . Musically though, according to current nomenclature, Nocturne seems to be in loose, warm, chillwave country – often something akin to the recent Small Black LP if you heard that.

So, over hazy electronics (check that album title – were you expecting anything else really?), looped samples, lush synths, swoonsome lyrics (“Woke up as a snowflake on an ocean”), as well as dreamy melodies, Nocturne immerses the listener from the off with the impressive “Infinity”.

Of the entire woozy Sun Airway canon, it is the catchy “Waiting On You” that musically most recalls Babybird’s inoffensive, 90s pop, but Barthmus’s vocal really does suggest as a stronger affinity throughout.

Elsewhere, lead single “Put The Days Away” provides welcome hints at nostalgic 80s indie, though does come spaced out on early Spiritualized and light, My Bloody Valentine -like nuances. The prominent “Oh, Naoko” also offers some swooshing shoegaze strains over digital snare before breaking into chorus.

“Swallowed By The Night” is much more soporific in turn, lolling around with the indistinct vocal as Nocturne now gently drifts through its remaining running order – one that is only minutely let down by indifferent, intangible closers (“Your Moon” and (“Five Years”).

There’s always a risk when sounding purposefully hazy; you could disappear entirely. Happily however, Sun Airway have largely found a likeable cruise control setting with Nocturne. From here, the stratosphere doesn’t seem so far.

Advised downloads: “Oh, Naoko” and “Waiting On You”