- Quit Nguyen / provided
We wake up every day depending on the sun, as humans have done for centuries. We need the sun. Its light, warmth and gravity are paramount to all of Earths existence. Yet, because few things seem as certain as a sunrise on the eastern horizon, we often take the star for granted. We grow accustomed to its presence, conveniently forgetting that the absence of its immense power would quickly end us all.
In a similar way, human life can seem bound to the unfathomable might of love. We can grow comfortable and complacent in its presence but are left trembling in its wake.
An understanding of this metaphor is key to grasping the conceptual meaning of Oklahoma City-based Haniwas cryptic new album Violent Sun. But it also is not necessary for finding pleasure in the indie synthpop release.
Violent Sun is at times delicate and at others loud and abrasive. There is a lot to unpack and dissect lyrically and sonically. That is a compliment and a testament to the bands talented roster, whichincludes guitarist and vocalist Shirley Sanders, keyboardist and vocalist Dylan Walling, guitarist Shawn Stafford, bassist Tyco Holloway and drummer Jake Jones.
The 11-song album leads off with You Brute, a hectic blur of guitars and vivid, disturbing lyrical imagery.
Honeys dripping from an angels backside, Sanders and Walling sing. I lap it up as it starts to pool.
- Violent Sun
The opening tune underscores the central idea that choosing to become an active participant in love is to open oneself up to potential hurt. But the promise of finding joy again keeps us going. Loves cycle is both comforting and cruel.
You grab my cheeks and force me towards the sunrise, the songs lyrics go. That violent Sun you say is all for me. You brute.
Feels, which forms a pretty blend of keys and guitar riffs made only more effective by Sanders angelic voice, is a song that touches on inner struggle and ones complex relationship with their own emotional duplicity. Its the albums most recognizable jam and a song the band will likely be playing for a long time to come.
For those who enjoy the nitty gritty work of sitting with a song for several listens and picking over its many levels of meaning, Dodecahedron is a gem. The song builds up to a loud and chaotic but beautiful mesh of everything the band the band has to offer, as if the Aurora Borealis was an auditory experience.
A personal favorite moment on the album is the pairing of songs White Tower and Bone Flute. The former features a steady beat over near-chanting from the groups vocalists to form Violent Suns most evocative track. The song is the perfect segue into energetic Bone Flute.
The albums fantastical imagery is splendid but might prove to be a challenging listen for some audiences. The skeptical should keep in mind that a perfect grasp of exactly what is being said is not as important here as how it is being said or how those words dwell within the bands well crafted sonic landscape. And Haniwa has made Violent Sun an idyllic home for those words.Print headline: Violent affairs, OKC synthpop quintet Haniwa harnesses the power of the Sun on its newest album.