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Sun Blood Stories Takes Neurolux on a Trip Through 'Twilight Midnight Morning'

SBS shifts effortlessly between languid blues-funk and experimental noise

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Sun Blood Stories on its journey to the end of the night - BEN SCHULTZ
  • Ben Schultz
  • Sun Blood Stories on its journey to the end of the night

When the members of Sun Blood Stories spoke with Boise Weekly earlier this month, they talked about a problem they encounter when performing songs from their new album, Twilight Midnight Morning (Obsolete Media Objects, 2015). They enjoy playing the material live, but other songs just don't seem to fit into the set.

"We talked about possibly interjecting new songs," Amber Pollard said. "We have other songs; we've written other songs. But this album needs these songs, and we need to play it this way. It doesn't work any other [way]."

SBS's album release show at Neurolux on June 23, supported Pollard's statement. The local quintet played through almost all of Twilight to a crowd of more than 100 people. The confident, impassioned performance suited what The Obelisk called the "vitality and adventurousness" of the album.

The two opening acts, while vastly different from each other, fit in with Twilight's multifaceted sound. Local chamber-folk act Tisper kicked off the show, and Samwise Carlson's haunting tunes and terse, cryptic lyrics called to mind Nick Drake and Perfumed Genius. Both the words and the music found the perfect vehicle in Carlson's delicate, yearning, high tenor and angelic falsetto. His vocals and quick finger-picking received support from Riley Johnson's subdued keyboard and Brynn Givans' serene violin.

Next up was local jazz-fusion trio Foul Weather. Youth Lagoon guitarist Logan Hyde's swift, muscular drumming provided propulsion for Daniel Kerr's weaving basslines and Jeremy Stewart's fluid, melodic synthesizer solos. The group's smooth melodies and mildly funky grooves built in intensity as the set progressed; while earlier numbers sounded like background music for an uncommonly hip dentist's office, later numbers suggested Gary Numan obsessing over Miles Davis's A Tribute to Jack Johnson.

As impressive as both openers were, the night belonged to SBS. With Nik Kososik's bass and Jon Fust's drums driving Pollard and Ben Kirby's guitars and Judah Claffey's viola forward, the band shifted effortlessly between languid blues-funk, pensive art-folk, roiling hard rock and experimental noise. Pollard's spooky moan and wail complemented Kirby's sly baritone croon and surprising high end.

When the band finished its set, Kirby made an endearingly awkward merch pitch, followed by, "Anyway, I'm not very good at talking." Judging from the loud applause, the crowd didn't mind at all.