Neon Fiction
Fat Wreck Chords
Street: 09.03
Sundowner = Dave Hause + Fake Problems + Chuck Ragan
Out-surviving the punk rock singer/songwriter fad that swept through the country a few years ago, Chris McCaughan has returned for a third album under the Sundowner moniker. As the more mellow and introspective vocalist of The Lawrence Arms (read: the one who doesn’t sing about farts), McCaughan’s style is well suited to a stripped-down style. McCaughan is a great lyricist, with an eye for metaphor and unique concepts comparable to a grittier John K. Samson. Neon Fiction showcases his songwriting prowess, specifically on “My Beautiful Ruins,” which is a forlorn love letter to his hometown of Chicago. Themes of coldness, loss and drifting permeate the album, but there is a wistfulness that seems almost hopeful. Neon Fiction lacks some of the more aggressive songs from previous Sundowner albums, but it is easily the most consistent and fully realized album under the name yet. Now about that new Lawrence Arms record … –Ricky Vigil