Seattle, WA / Los Angeles, CA
“At its core, this is experimental music,” says Bobby Granfelt. “There’s elements of jazz and indie rock and hip-hip and electronic music, but ultimately, sunking is all about exploring the nooks and crannies between those genres, about throwing out all of the rules and expectations in search of something completely fresh and original.” On Smug, the LA duo’s captivating debut for ANTI- Records, it’s safe to say they’ve found it. Crafted piecemeal over the course of several years, the collection is wildly inventive and utterly hypnotic, filtering the pair’s bold vision and virtuosic musicianship though the brash, DIY ethos of an underground punk band. Live horns and dreamy guitars brush up against lush synthesizers and propulsive beats here, with each of the album’s 19 immersive, instrumental tracks clocking in around the two-minute mark. As mesmerizing as it all can be, there’s also something perpetually unsettled about the music here—sometimes it’s a dissonance or cacophony that craves resolution, sometimes it’s a groove that resists fitting neatly into any recognizable time signature—and that’s by design. Nothing is sacred, nothing is precious. Like Johnny Greenwood scoring a David Lynch videogame, Smug is at once beautiful and unnerving, hyper-focused and surreal, challenging and transcendent.