Review: High Sunn - "Sweet Dreams"

High Sunn - Sweet Dreams
(2015 Self-Released)

I started Half-Gifts shortly after my fourteenth birthday, and ever since then I've made it a point to search the internet for albums released by fellow teenagers. In a way, music made by young people is some of the most honest, intimate and raw material that I've listened to. Many older songwriters devote a good portion of their lyricism to looking back at major turning points in their formative years: first loves, failures, friends, that sort of thing. Though there's nothing wrong with reminiscence, I find that I prefer to hear these themes come straight from those who experience them first-hand. High Sunn's Sweet Dreams is a great example of what I'm talking about; it's the brainchild of 15-year-old Justin Cheromiah, a curious blend of surf-pop guitaristry that recalls Beach Fossils' most recent album, Clash The Truth and Teen Suicide's angsty, lo-fi vibe. The resulting product is the most delightfully depressing summer-core album in recent memory. Upbeat, twangy riffs are paired with peppy drum machine beats and Cheromiah's reverby, shouted vocals, tinged with an emo-revival attitude. "Life" is my favorite of the 6 songs: breezy chords are stitched together by a bubbly bassline. Cheromiah's vocals are starkly melancholy above such a summery, carefree instrumental, providing for a fascinating contrast in mood. It's been a while since I've heard a beach-pop album that's captured my attention as well as Sweet Dreams has. It has definitely provided me with a renewed interest in the sub-genre as well as some listening material for the warm months ahead.