If angels played metal music in heaven, it'd probably sound something like Sunbather, the acclaimed second album from San Francisco quintet Deafheaven. The album is full of stunningly gorgeous guitar melodies and riffs, crushing rhythms and throat-ripping vocals all delivered at maximum velocity, intensity and volume. This is an intricate, layered and striking headphones album.
The band recently dropped by Fuse HQ in New York City to chat about Sunbather, saying their one goal for the LP while writing and recording was "just... we hope this doesn't suck," jokes frontman George Clarke. "That was the goal... and I think it came out okay."
Understatement of the year! The band went through lineup changes following their last album, 2011's debut Roads to Judah, so Sunbather was written and recorded as a trio, says Clarke. "Writing this was really nerve-wracking," he explains. "It was going from working with a full band and then stripping it down, so if you do fail it's all on your shoulders."
He also explained the influence behind album's themes. "It was a personal experience of seeing someone sunbathing," Clarke says. "This girl [sunbathing] literally looked like she had no worries, and I'm on the other side wondering, 'Well, what have I done to make my life feel so difficult all the time?' [The album] is meant to be a reflection on everything one doesn't have."
Sonically, Clarke says the LP has a "focus on juxtaposition," and that the band found "similarities in diverse styles and made them work and blend into something cohesive." Check out album gem "Irresistible" below for proof.
Watch the full video interview above for more on Deafheaven, from their "high fashion" Sunbather cover art (the image below) to how Clarke maintains his voice while screaming night after night on tour: "Whiskey and cigarettes," he jokes, shrugging. "For some reason it just holds up."