Ephemerality is a state of being where your relationship with time is elusive, where minutes or years float past freely and happiness is drawn from the ethereality of swimming listlessly through life.
For many this is probably unimaginably frightening, but for a few it is perhaps the ultimate goal in life: to be completely unaware of what time of the day or year it is. To just be. This is the way that Sundown Jury make you feel: free from the constraints of time, unburdened by the clock and its suffocating arms, and irrevocably ‘free’.
The same can be said for a number of modern folk artists who employ contemporary sonic textures to age-old folk traditions in what is these days usually referred to as indie folk – think early Fleet Foxes or even Mumford & Sons (is it taboo to say that these days)?
Sundown Jury do indie folk really well, gathering their respective talents into a tight bundle and delivering it in a way that is neither understated nor exaggerated – and this balance is perfected on their new single, fittingly called Passing Time.
Brisbane indie folksters Sundown Jury channel a liberating sense of ephemerality on stunning new single Passing Time – plug in and get lost in it.
Passing Time is the third track we’ve heard from Brisbane’s Sundown Jury in the past year or so. The band are a four piece with a knack for melodies and harmonies and finger-picked guitars – all the elements of a good folk band are securely in place here. But when it comes to Sundown Jury, these elements are just a foundation that is built upon. The difference here lies in the band’s ability to build a song from the ground up.
On Passing Time, much like their previous singles, the core elements – which they have down-pat – are laid bare from the start. The song opens with a soft acoustic guitar keeping the rhythm and a bass providing the platform for a melancholy three-part harmony to sit comfortably on.
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Slowly, more elements are introduced: drum sticks clicking softly on a snare rim and harrowing violins. The lyrics are genuine – rather sanguine and optimistic considering the chilly musical backdrop. They appear as instructions designed to give hope: “learn with your heart and mind / your troubles will fall behind” they implore. And it’s kind of hard not to listen.
While all of this follows a pretty standard folk archetype, everything flips on its head after the advice has been offered and the lessons have been learned. A small drum break gives forth to an charge of crashing drums and wildly strummed guitars that are as equally dancehall as they are hillbilly.
Triumphant guitars sneak their way back in, as do buoyant harmonies and earthly, climatic lyrics like “down by the river side / watching time pass us by /trying not recognise / that what we’ve gained is hard to find / if I wake up/ will you wake up?” – and it’s hard to believe that in the world of Sundown Jury time exists at all.
Passing Time is out now.
Sundown Jury’s forthcoming EP Time is Dancing is out 16 September 2016
Toowoomba Festival of Flowers – 18 September 2016
Red Deer Music & Arts Festival – 22 October 2016