Posted by: will | June 15, 2007



Sundowner “Four One Five Two” (Red Scare)


As you may know if you have been reading SAL, I am a huge Lawrence Arms fan. Sundowner is the solo project of Chris McCaughan who is best known as the guitarist/vocalist for the amazing Chicago pop/punk band. On his solo debut, Four One Five Two, he is joined by resident Chicago musician Jenny Choi on cello, keys and backing vocals. What follows is an album that truly showcases McCaughan’s talent.

Not surprisingly, these songs sound straight out of the Larry Arms songbooks. The Lawrence Arms have a wonderful balance in their songwriting. McCaughan’s songs are much smoother and border on the emo side where as bandmate Brendan Kelly’s songs are harsher (pop) punk rock numbers for the most part. Sundowner is very much McCaughan’s own project though. These songs bare his trademarked vocals and introspective lyrical stamp. McCaughan has an almost poetic way with words. He writes all the songs here except the one cover he does of his fellow bandmate, Kelly’s “My Boatless Booze Cruise.” He even covers perhaps his most popular Arms song, “One Hundred Resolutions.” Four One Five Two sounds warm and incredibly inviting. Sundowner really highlights McCaughan’s obvious talent as a lyricist and songwriter. It does so by stripping his songs down to their bare, but beautiful essence.

‘Midwestern Beer Belly Despair Rock’ is the ridiculously simplified moniker that The Lawrence Arms go by on occasion. So, I guess it is fair for you to think of Sundowner as ‘Midwestern Beer Belly Despair (Acoustic) Rock’ for all practical purposes. Four One Five Two is a tremendous album that truly exceeds all my expectations. When that dark day comes that The Lawrence Arms calls it quits, McCaughan will be just fine with projects like Sundowner.

RIYL: The Lawrence Arms, The Alkaline Trio, The Smoking Popes


Sundowner – One Hundred Resolutions (mp3)

Sundowner – This War Is Noise (video)


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