Photographer Steve Gullick and musician-artist James Johnston join forces for a boundary-pushing dive into a world of soundscapes that won’t come as a massive surprise to fans of either work. The pair first met in 1991 and formed the Bender, but it was much later that they decided to work on some experimental music. ‘Everybody’s Sunset’ is the second album released under their own names and follows on from 2021’s ‘We Travel Time’. The pair throw in a melting pot of violin, organ, guitar, banjo, autoharp, harmonica, piano, synthesisers to create a mostly instrumental soundscape that is both warm and cold yet distant and claustrophobically intense and generally headfuckin experimental post-rock. 

Experimental, avant-garde and all the other cliches you can throw at them but these guys are pushing the envelope of the outer reaches of a genre not contained in the tight confines that we usually like to put our music in. I admit right here I’m a massive fan of Johnston be it his solo work and Gallon Drunk this is well outside of my comfort zone. One of my favourite albums is David Sylvian’s ‘Secrets Of The Beehive’ and this is way outside most of Sylvian’s soundscape work so fans of that would be able to picture where I’m at.

At times it sounds so fractured that it could be made up on the spot and improvised as the song unfolds especially the instrumental stuff. But it is dark and light and pretty much every other juxtaposed feelings it’s way beyond Reed’s darkness or Bowie’s Berlin records I like it when PJ Harvey takes you further away from the boundaries of indie or rock music. I admire what I would consider being a brave record and some artists draw you in and take you with them on that journey and James certainly has done that over the years. Songs with ‘Sleep’, ‘Silence’ and ‘Medevil Death Song’ in the title bring up all sorts of jovial connotations I’m sure but are all totally fitting on this record.

I admit Instrumentals on rock records are generally a big miss for me but at times on less conventional records I quite like a good soundscape here the songs are generally short except for the epic title track that clocks in a shade under ten minutes. Wheezing strings make way for a solemn piano and vocal and goes on endlessly towards its final breath, epic is the best word to describe it and a fitting song to end on. Outsiders looking in should give themselves up entirely and reap the rewards of the bleak darkness and glowing warmth of this record I’m sure at different times of the day it will be different emotions being pricked when ‘Everybody’s Sunset’ is spun. Check it out

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