Suntrodden “Suntrodden III” (Independent, 2017)

Austin-based Erik Stephansson releases the third of his Suntrodden collection. He describes this five track EP as being “about rediscovering your core and not succumbing to the distractions that put you at risk” which is a noble sentiment. Even nobler when you discover that Stephansson has eschewed much of the modern recording technology in favour of a stripped back lo-fi approach that lets the songs say it all.

This is a collection of dreamy pop, indie if you must, but infectious however you describe them. If an artist is going to go “out there” without the aid of a safety net, it’s a good idea to ensure the songs are quality as they will stand or fall on them. These are good songs; haunting, thoughtful and melodious, mostly acoustic with sparing electric guitar below.

Opener There’s a Place is a slow thoughtful intro but a perfect taster of what is to come while Pure is a suitable lead track for the EP. The lyrical images on Moonflower are as clear as crystal while The End (Haunt Me) is vaguely unsettling.

Suntrodden III is the antidote to overblown production and maybe Stephansson is pointing the way for other song-writers. Just don’t try it if the songs won’t stand the scrutiny like these do.

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