- Mashal Ashfaq
ALBUM REVIEW: THE SUN AND HER SCORCH
RELEASE DATE: JULY 31 2020
Two years after the initial hit release of Dizzy’s debut album Baby Teeth, the band is back with The Sun and Her Scorch — another evocative album, all soft vibes and scorching lyrics.
Katie Munshaw, frontwoman of the band explains in several interviews, “I wanted to be completely honest about the things nobody ever wants to admit, like being jealous of your friends or pushing away the people who love you.” 1 Katie later goes on to explain that this album focuses on self-heartbreak rather than romantic heartbreak.
The Sun and Her Scorch brings on the late-night suburbia and lush retro vibes from Baby Teeth; but while Baby Teeth deals with themes of adolescence and heartbreak, TSAHS explores the big, messy themes of growing up and morality. The album has fuller and more hopeful vibes than their former album, which Munshaw explains comes from the fact that they produced the album entirely on their own.
The quartet consists of frontwoman Katie Munshaw, vocalist Charlie Spencer, and instrumentalists Alex and Mackenzie Spencer. The four draw inspiration from the sleepy suburbs of their hometown: Munshaw explains that the biggest moments in her life did not happen at romantic beaches or crowded subways, but at McDonald at 2 AM in the morning or partying at a friend’s late at night. The quartet continues to encapsulate the dreamy and retro suburban vibe perfectly in their newest album.
The album starts off with Worms; a song that sets up perfectly the vibe of the later songs. As Katie Munshaw explains, “‘Worms’ felt sort of like a theme for the record: The song is like a hand coming out from the earth, reaching out and grabbing the listener down to this world of The Sun and Her Scorch. ‘Worms’ signifies this feeling of being underground and feeling trapped and suffocated.” 2 And surely, the themes of trapped and suffocation are apparent in the song, along with death and loss, as reflected in the lyrics: Shine your light down to me / And I'll cling to it / I've been sleeping with the worms / I got used to it.
Next comes the fan-favourite lead-single of the album: Sunflower, “a three and a half minute ‘snap out of it!’ to me when I’m feeling low, unconfident or not myself kind of song”. Although Munshaw claims she doesn’t write poetry or prose, you can’t look over the funky images and specific word-choice she uses. Right from the start of the song, Munshaw’s genius lyrics’ shine through. Take me to the roof / I wanna hear the sound / Of what a broken heart does / When I fling it to the ground. Throughout the song, Munshaw’s odd but effective wording combos pattern out, vocally and lyrically reflecting the vivid but weird images and thoughts that come to us when we sleep. The lyrics are questioning and odd but paired with the hopeful, retro instrumentals, they create a striking balance.
"How do you think you'll die?" The album’s third song Good and Right starts with the question we’ve all asked ourselves at least once. While the lyrics are heavy, the song still remains hopeful with the chorus, I hope it’s good and right. Katie Munshaw explains the process behind the song: “I came up with that opening line while I was walking to my job one day, and it was in my voice notes for a long time, and Charlie [Spencer, drummer] had a demo and I put it over top.” She goes onto explain her reasoning for the themes of death in this song, which fit perfectly with the overarching album’s questioning of growing up. She says, “One of those things that I learned that I can write about—and one that I am freaking out about constantly—is death, and realizing that I’m getting older, and that’s exactly what this song is about. It’s also about being afraid of the unknown. I wasn’t raised religiously, so this song makes me wonder what happens after all this.” 3
The fourth installment of the album, ‘Magician’ truly brings magic to Munshaw’s words. The song, Munshaw explains, is about wanting to magically bring a friend who passed away back to life. "To me, the song reeks of naivety and innocence in a way that really hurts my heart. Hoping she’ll walk into my gig at the local pub, hoping to see her mom at Sobeys just to remember how similar their laughs were. Hoping for magic. It’s a really emotional song for me but is masked by tricky, pretty production to make it sound almost joyful." 4 You can really see this clearly through her lyrics, “You be the girl behind the crates,” and later “You be the bird behind the drapes.” Birds could symbolize heaven and create a coffin. After each of the lyrics, Munshaw sings, And I’ll be the Magician further reiterating the theme of a passing of a friend and wanting to bring them back.
‘Beatrice’, the next song in the album, is named after a street in Oshawa. The band stars the suburban street vibes in several lyrics. On the pavement, I spill my guts / A crowd's watching but I won't shut up and They dim the lights and the music plays / But you catch your cab and walk away. These things go by on the streets, something often left unnoticed but Dizzy draws on that feeling of small moments that go unnoticed while your whole world falls apart. “‘Beatrice’ is a street in Oshawa, but the song is largely fiction,” Katie says, “We wrote it really early on when I was still trying to write romantic heartbreak songs, and everything was coming out really ingenuine. To crack it, I had to tap into relationships around me. My best friend was going through a breakup, my parents were separating, and I just kind of drew from their experiences at the time. So this song is a mash-up of their relationships falling apart.” 5
And indeed falling apart is a theme prominent in the next 5 installments. ‘Roman Candles’ struggles with insecurities about pursuing music as a job and a passion and that fearful thought of letting go. ‘Lefty’ deals with a more left-sided look to a relationship, exploring toxicity and complete obsession and infatuation in a relationship to the point it becomes unhealthy. In ‘Primrose Hill’, Munshaw explains, “the song is really about guilt and remorse and treating the people you love so awfully, and them just loving you anyway.” 6 Next comes ‘Daylight Savings Time’, a song about the fear and depression of time passing. “This song is about depression and thinking that it’s seasonal, and then when the year turns around and it’s summertime again, you realize that maybe it wasn’t seasonal and maybe there’s something more to it than that.” 7 The penultimate song, ‘Ten’, is where the album titles originate from. The lyric ‘the sun and her scorch’ is meant to reference the sun’s heat but in relation to the record, Munshaw explains it was a good metaphor for hurting people unintentionally. Finally, the album loops closed with the starter song ‘Worms ll’.
With this album, fans will get dizzy with joy and nostalgia as the band continues to spin closer and closer to fame.
If you’ve ever had dreams of all your teeth falling out, then this album is for you.
Listen to their latest music THE SUN AND HER SCORCH | SEPARATE PLACES EP