Chris McCaughan may be best known to most as the guitarist and singer of Chicago punk rock band, The Lawrence Arms. But over the past seven years, during the band's relative dormancy, Chris has written, performed and made a name for himself under the moniker, Sundowner, a stripped down and introspective outlet for his studiously constructed lyrics and melodies. Sundowner's third full length album, Neon Fiction, clearly and confidently exhibits his evolution as a songwriter with ten new, emotive, and eloquent songs.
In contrast to both "country western", and "classic, Springsteen fuelled Americana", Sundowner is more from the Leonard Cohen school of playing to melody and literacy. This time around, Sundowner has a full band sound, experimenting with dynamic arrangements and stylistic departures from previous records. Neon Fiction is a fully formed testament to the arrival of Sundowner as something bigger and more enduring than a side project. To celebrate this evolution, Chris has teamed up with the crew at Fat Wreck Chords, who will be dropping Neon Fiction on September 3, 2013.
Chris once again combined forces with multi-instrumentalist and fellow Lawrence Arm, Neil Hennessy, to create Sundowner's lush new sound. They entered Atlas Studios (Alkaline Trio, the Menzingers, Masked Intruder), and with the talented Justin Yates engineering, kicked out an album fueled by some of Chris' most mindful and confident lyrics. The tunes themselves can't be easily summed up, but you might be reminded of The Weakerthans, Jets To Brazil, or maybe even Paul Simon. There's an authentic, almost classic feeling to this album, calling on the traditions of indie rock and fused with Chris' metropolitan lyrical style. Nothing forced, just throat, strings, bass, drums and game changing songs.
The raw and heartfelt Sundowner debut Four One Five Two came out in 2007 on Red Scare Industries and has since become a fan favorite. In 2010, long time friend and label guru, Mike Park, at Asian Man Records released We Chase The Waves, a disarming, low-fi collection of Chris' work. This year, with a new record and a new label, you can expect to see Sundowner coming to a town near you sometime soon. With the arrival of Neon Fiction, it is definitely time to get on board; when something seems as at home on Fat as it would on Merge, it's something you should probably just check out for yourself.