I rarely find an album that puts me at a loss for words, but there are moments where I am not sure how to explain how an album makes me feel. Usually, I can write about an album and how its music and lyrics tie in to the overall themes that the band is addressing with no issue, but Sundrowned’s Become Ethereal is something that I cannot describe as a reviewer. This is an album that deserves to be experienced and enjoyed blind, so, if you can indulge me, I would like to talk about this album in a way that speaks of multiple experiences and metaphors, with all the stream of consciousness that comes with it.
Become Ethereal is a sculpture made out of glass – delicate yet strong in its composition. You are aware that this sculpture was born in fire, a passionate project that was painstakingly hammered and molded into shape so it can later be cooled in water. The light that reflects off of it catches your eye, allowing for a shimmer of color to be reflected on the museum walls. There is also something inherently sensual and familiar about it, as if you have seen it before – it’s not the exact sculpture, but you have seen other sculptures that carry that same sensuality. Perhaps, in a moment of pure coincidence, two different artists had the same idea, and they decided to approach it in different ways, creating two similar yet inherent pieces of art. Just like other albums in this genre, Become Ethereal is an album whose music builds off its peers, yet is something completely different, molding itself into existence through its composition and instrumentality.
Become Ethereal is the experience of watching raindrops fall during a particularly warm day – a break from the monotony of long summer days and the grind of everyday life. For a moment, everything stops as everyone slows down to appreciate what nature can do. The scent of wet pavement accentuates that moment, something that codes itself in your memory. You take that moment to see how the water colors everything gray; how the water is cold and it feels refreshing on your bare skin; and how, for that moment, you feel a sense of peace that can be broken at any moment. In a sense, this album ties to that fleeting moment by moving from theme to theme, allowing you to enjoy that small space between beats and atmosphere. The vocals add to that fleeting peace, as they easily ebb in and out from being the main focal point of a song to the additive that makes the music memorable.
This album is the intimacy of late-night talks with good friends. It’s the realization that you are going to bed at dawn, but it doesn’t matter because you spent that time enjoying something that you had to stop doing. It is the joy and triumph of seeing something to its end, and it can no longer hold you back. As it comes to a close, you can only sit and hope that this is something you can experience again, even if it’s not the same. After all, once you have experienced it, this may only be revisited when you remove all associations with it.
Hasta la proxima!