Sweeping Promises – Good Living Is Coming For You

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Sweeping Promises Good Living Is Coming For You review

Serendipity seems to surround Sweeping Promises. After a chance meeting at an Arkansas college, Lira Mondal and Caufield Schnug have since become the close-knit dynamic duo taking to any musical project like ducks to water. Or, in their case, like scientists to a Boston laboratory, plumbers to an Austin bathroom, then sound engineers to an en-suite residential studio in Kansas. After recording in every idiosyncratic venue by circumstance, fittingly the organic sound they’ve captured in the latter on Good Living is Coming For You could not have come via any means other than an intrinsic urge to create whenever, wherever.

Their latest dwellings backdrop the next installment of their trademark “watery, smeared” sound since their 2020 lockdown breakout Hunger For A Way Out, capturing more vibrance from simple machinery than you’d think (à la the record’s CMYK printer inspired artwork). Dream pop, garage rock and post-punk have all entered their combined subconscious, with each genre tidbit lovingly plastered into this second serving, alongside the band’s extraordinary outside influences. Schnug, an literary academic and analog loving multi-instrumentalist joined forces with Mondal way back in 2008, whose stints as a pastry chef may account for her nimble, analytical and staccato bass attack.

Across the board, there’s a battle between self-imposed constraints to write thick-‘n’-fast, and experimental recordings with complete free rein and fervor. In that way, the songs pull the rug with a subtle, deft touch; simplistic punchy basslines swim under guitar jabs in retro throwback “Shadow Me”, then swerve to unveil wonderfully beachy surf-rock riffs out of the blue. Mondal, having retrained her vocals from younger choir days to individualistic three-sheets-to-the-wind takes, changes childlike nursery rhyme chants into snarls on relenting single “Eraser,” often employs Marissa Paternoster’s gothic tinge, and dips into operatic mode on the album closer with its catchy “Ideal no-oh!” refrain. All the while, Schnug cuts sharp punk chords and saxophones into the mix (“Connoisseur of Salt”), takes us to the disco (“Walk in Place”) and plants retro ’80s synths into the Blondie-inspired “You Shatter.”

For all the extraneous blips and bloops that occur across the ride, each track is driven by an urgent momentum willing to break free—there are ever creeping tip-toeing instrumentals to underpin the title track’s ominous feel while a neat, building hi-hat snare combo bleeds into chunky chord bends and scattered keys across highlight “Can’t Hide It.” Swampy trudges become horse-powered bombast here, giving the studio recording the live and in-your-face treatment. As well on “Petit Four”, where Mondal’s bass holds the fort as she hollers near and far from the mic, surrounded by fun popping effects and high-neck noodling.

It’s rare to capture the essence of both an impromptu jam session and a considered amalgam of noisy textures. But Sweeping Promises have the mutual understanding that, with one cue, the other will duly follow in a hive-mind musical dance. Continuing to embrace the art of making music for the pure joy it brings its creators, this just so happens to capture the intricate and rustic beauty of the lo-fi recording process too, with resulting earworms aplenty. That’s their idea of good living, and it’s infectious.

Label: Feel It/Sub Pop

Year: 2023

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