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Why Bonnie and Sun June
90 in November, the first full-length LP from Texas quintet Why Bonnie, crashes into existence with a squeal of feedback and a burst of distorted guitar. It’s a dynamic introduction to a more raw-edged indie sound from a band who have matured from bedroom dream pop into a sophisticated rock act, their evolving sound a reflection of the journey undertaken by songwriter Blair Howerton on this vividly rendered collection of songs.
Even when handled with as much grace as it is on 90 in November, nostalgia remains tricky to navigate, something Howerton addresses on the exuberant “Lot’s Wife.” The song is inspired by a story from the Old Testament of a woman who looked back at her city while fleeing and was turned to a pillar of salt. “I really liked that story and how it relates to the experience of nostalgia, how if you stare for too long, you’re gonna turn into something else and crumble,” says Howerton. By looking back on her past with fearlessness and compassion, she propels her songwriting forward into new realms of emotional sincerity and her band to new heights of sonic adventurousness.
The five members of Sun June spent their early years spread out across the United States, from the boonies of the Hudson Valley to the sprawling outskirts of LA. Having spent their college years within the gloomy, cold winters of the North East, Laura Colwell and Stephen Salisbury found themselves in the vibrant melting-pot of inspiration that is Austin, Texas. Meeting each other while working on Terrence Malick’s ‘Song to Song’, the pair were immediately taken by the city’s bustling small clubs and honky-tonk scene, and the fact that there was always an instrument within reach, always someone to play alongside.