sunking, "Rainier (Tallboy)" (self-released)
I'm on day 2 of a bad cold; I feel disconnected from reality and dazed to the max. It's all I can do right now to delete the hundreds of emails flooding my inbox with stuff that just adds to my overwhelming feeling of inertia. Yet, somehow, local duo sunking's 22-track self-titled debut album is cutting through the illness-induced fug and actually making my neurons fizz.
There's very little info about sunking out there, but the band features Rob Granfelt, the social-media/PR person from the Royal Room. He says they've been working on this debut album for three years and "consider the music to be experimental beat music, which originated with improvised drum takes and then we built the harmonies around the drums." The result is an LP that sounds like it could've come out on the Ninja Tune or Mo Wax labels in 1998; I mean that in the most positive way possible.
Sunking appear to be steeped in funk, fusion, and the dreamier end of the rock spectrum (one track's titled "Shugazr"). They deftly weave these influences through the 22 tracks in a manner that suggests they know this sort of thing's been done many times before, but they're out to prove that there are still new twists to be found among the trip-hop tropes. With its suave, buoyant bass line, sparkling glockenspiel, Pat Martino-esque guitar cailligraphy, and shuffling, rimshot-heavy beat, "Rainier (Tallboy)" carries the elegant, romantic bearing of mid-'90s Air. I wish it were at least three times longer than its 1:56 running time.