JE Sunde’s sophomore LP is an exercise in careful subtraction. The first LP Shapes That Kiss The Lips Of God, (which itself followed complex LPs with his former band The Daredevil Christopher Wright), was an exercise in layers of sound…built up and presented like a spinning fan seen through a kaleidoscope. This number two LP Now I Feel Adored (2017) strips away the slowed blades and peers through a clearer, but darker lens.
The detailed weavings of melody found on previous recordings by the Minneapolis based songwriter are present, as always in the light strums of nylon string guitar, piano (electric and acoustic), occasional strings, synths and percussion, but the real feature here is in the bass guitar and vocal. Referred to as a “bass forward” effort by Sunde himself and played by Andrew Thoreen of Har-Di-Har fame and at times Pat Keen…it shows. This bass presence is best heard on the track “Wedding Ring”, a kind of ode to commitment to belief.
Juxtapose that with the shadowy tune “Prism”, a sad observance of the faults of man and perception (or lack of). The hint of darkness shows itself again on the reckoning tune “Capsize and Sink”…beware censors, there is a word or two that the FCC would not approve of there. All the tracks on this LP flow from the beginning number, a duet with Monica Martin of Phox on the Irish folk-type tune “I Will Smile When I Think of You”. The essence of a kind of full minimalism starts there…it takes some time to notice how little is going on with the richness of what is heard.
As opposed to his first LP which was recorded over a long-ish time and mostly by Sunde himself, this second offering was done in just a few sessions, with his core band of Shane Leonard (Kalispell, Field Report), Andrew Thoreen, and Pat Keen. Augment that with Marty Breuggemann on keys and a smattering of real strings and flute and the sound becomes its realized self. The production quality of Hi Fi and vintage meets 70s am radio softness permeates the entire effort. The Victorian mansion in Neenah, Wisconsin that houses the studio sports a wood paneled dining room with a large table in the center where the band would share meals and breaks. The connections made at that table wove their way into the tightness and timbre of every track. This record will connect with anyone who sits at that metaphorical table to listen.