Sundodger's Bigger Waves Album
The cover for Sundodger’s rock-punk-new wave album, ‘Bigger Waves.’

Band: Sundodger: Dan Engel: vocals, lyrics and rhythm guitar; Jeff Norman: lead guitar; Don Currie: bass guitar; and Mark Fiebig: drums and percussion

Album: ‘Bigger Waves’

Produced by: Sundodger and Shawn Simmons; Engineered by: Simmons; Assistant Engineer: Jon Roberts; Recorded and mixed at Studio Litho in Seattle in 2017-2018; Mastered by: Ed Brooks at Resonant Mastering in Seattle

Taking provocative risks that contemplate people’s personal evolution, as well as the natural chemistry that happens with those friends and colleagues they feel truly connected to, isn’t always an easy journey. But emerging Seattle rock band, Sundodger, which is led by singer-songwriter, Dan Engel, is powerfully doing just that with their intense new album, ‘Bigger Waves.’ The newly released 10-track project, which marks the full-length record debut of the group’s current line-up, includes authentic themes about the harrowing process of people discovering who they truly are that will surely resonate with many listeners.

‘Bigger Waves’ immediately starts taking its listeners on a reflective journey that offers an in-depth exploration into the equally joyful and difficult process of making a relationship work. In what becomes Sundodger’s signature vocal style, the offbeat and sometimes non-linear, Cobain-esque lyrics are instantly showcased on the record’s initial entry, ‘Too Much Too Soon.’ Backed by a classic rock guitar, Engel stunningly sings about how the person he’s connected to puts on a fake act that doesn’t suit his needs and wants in a relationship.

The sophomore song on ‘Bigger Waves,’ ‘Banner Days,’ is one of the band’s best efforts. Naturally blending of several different musical styles, including soul and rock, Engel croons about how he has been changed by his environment and the situations he has faced. The singer’s high energy and autobiographical reflection on the ups and downs that he and his wife have gone through over the years, both financially and emotionally, crafts a stunning anthem about the bond of marriage. He also emotionally admits that his title banner days have passed him by, but he doesn’t have any regrets.

The next track on Sundodger’s new album is ‘Like Me,’ which features hypnotic keyboard elements, and chronicles the emotional journey of two flawed people who break out of their individual isolation when they find each other. The tune is grippingly driven by slower tempo guitar riffs and drum beats that take cues from classic 1990s rock songs.

‘Like Me’ then delves into the punk and new wave-driven track, ‘Shayla,’ which features a strong, driving pace that’s fueled by the bass and electric guitars, as well as the drums. The energetic and up tempo vibe, which makes the song a prime candidate to be a commercial hit, alluringly notes how Engel wants to get lost with the title woman.

‘Bigger Waves’ then transitions into the rock-inspired entry, ‘Keeping a Light On,’ which also as the potential to be a commercial radio hit. Engel emotionally contemplates how he can no longer be with the woman he loves, as the door has closed on their relationship.

‘Keeping a Light On’ is followed by another one of the best songs on ‘Bigger Waves,’ which is titled ‘Epitaph.’ The intense rock-n-roll and punk track, which is influenced by such bands as The Ramones and Green Day, is one of the strongest ones on Sundodger’s new record. Backed by upbeat rock guitars, the tune invoke the reality of the isolation that’s a stunning effect of the reliance people have on their devices. ‘Epitaph’ also chronicles the destructive result of making online connections that seem more real than they actually are.

The next entry on Sundodger’s new record is ‘Last Stand,’ which features wailing, sentimental and thought-provoking rock guitars and vocals. Engel has a determined attitude about needing to spend time with the person in his life, in order to see if they have a true connection.

‘Last Stand’ then delves into the ’70s alternative rock-inspired song, ‘Grace,’ on which Engle croons that he’s testing the time he has with the woman in his life. While ‘Grace’ is unfortunately one of the more forgettable tracks on ‘Biggest Wave,’ Sundodger quickly returns to form with the record’s nextenthralling rock tune, ‘Do No Harm.’

‘Biggest Waves’ penultimate entry chronicles how a young girl’s world is so unclear and scattered, many people begin to wait to see her fall. But she has found a way to win, which is chronicled in the lyrics that contemplate her life path and interactions.

‘Do No Harm’ then transitions into the last song on ‘Biggest Wave,’ which is titled ‘Echoes.’ The track creates a slow, rock-infused atmosphere that perfectly sums up the band’s collective musical vibe. Driven by a soulful guitar, Engel emotionally croons how life fuels his fears while he ponders what’s going on around him. The tune also explores the irony of being able to do so much but not really accomplishing anything, especially in the current world that’s driven by people’s reliance on technology.

Engaging in brazen risks that contemplate people’s personal evolution, as well as the natural chemistry that happens with those friends and colleagues they feel truly connected to, isn’t always an easy journey. But Sundodger is powerfully doing just that with its intense new album. ‘Bigger Waves’ features authentic themes about the harrowing process of people discovering who they truly are that will surely resonate with many listeners.

For more information on Sundodger, visit the band’s Facebook page.

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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