Dizzy got some well-deserved attention after the release of their debut album Baby Teeth two summers ago. The four-piece out of Oshawa, Ontario displayed a dreamy alternative pop sound with a star-gazing quality and spoke on the messiness of teenage years in the most gorgeous manner. The album went on to win the Juno Award for “Alternative Album of the Year” in 2019.
The Sun and Her Scorch takes a different approach both musically and conceptually. Gone is the condensed dream-pop atmosphere that dominated their debut and instead, the band has taken on a somewhat more organic sound. As for the subject matter, vocalist Katie Munshaw is now looking inward as she tackles qualities about herself that she’s not very proud of.
“I wanted to be completely honest about the things nobody ever wants to admit,” she said in a press release, “like being jealous of your friends or pushing away the people who love you.”
The album opens with “Worms.” It’s a mesmerizing slow-build containing a voicemail recording that appears to be from Munshaw’s Grandma checking in on her and trying to arrange a coffee date. You get the feeling that Munshaw’s been ignoring phone calls. When the beat hits she sings, “Reach your hand down to me and I will bite it/I’ve been sleeping with the worms and I’m used to it.”
If “Worms” is Munshaw making a home for herself in the dirt, then the following “Sunflower” is her trying to dig herself out of it. The lead single takes a looping sample of a voice note from a choir Munshaw and drummer Charlie Spencer heard at a rec centre. It creates a vibrant and exciting pull to the song and it stands out as bigger and brighter than anything heard off their debut.
There is certainly an added confidence to their sophomore. The band is credited as co-producer and took on a self-directed approach, dipping their hands into every aspect of the album’s creation. The album’s more open and natural feel can be attributed to their wonderful use of live instrumentation.
It’s not to say they’ve completely lost the dreamy appeal of their debut. “Lefty” trods on a soft and bubbly palette, Munshaw commenting on her co-dependency in a relationship. It’s the drums during the song’s vocal-processed outro that steer away from the dream-like state as they let the cymbal strike unlike anything off Baby Teeth.
“Beatrice,” named after a street in Oshawa, has more of that dream-like familiarity. Munshaw appears to be taking comfort in a certain someone who she knows can’t fix her problems but is there to listen. In the end, they go their separate ways.
“Daylight Savings Time” creates some of the album’s strongest emotions with its take on the sinking feeling one may experience as the days get shorter. There are signs of seasonal depression in Munshaw’s words with lines like, “It’s nearly Valentines and I’m still in shambles/And it’s getting hard to compensate for all the sick days I’ve been taking.”
“Ten” comes off as a bit of a haunting close to the album. The first verse has Munshaw depicting interactions with a loved one in the present day, and the second verse contrasts that with almost mirrored interactions but set in old age. The song swells in its closing moments as she bids goodbye to essentially the memories of a lifetime. This then transitions to “Worms II,” repeating the sentiments of the opening track as if Munshaw has returned to her place in the dirt.
While Baby Teeth took the perspective of someone fresh out of their teens, The Sun and Her Scorch is now looking at the thoughts of a twenty-something. There is no song on here that more beautifully expresses the self-doubt, jealousy, and anxiety of being in your twenties than “Roman Candles.”
Munshaw has been making a living in a band since high school and during that time she’s witnessed friends and colleagues begin to settle down and become adults. This song has her tackling the insecurities that come with pursuing her dream and it’s a profoundly phenomenal performance.
To complement the gorgeous piece, they created a dazzling music video with choreography from the multi-talented Toronto artist Paige Foskett. It’s a truly magnificent song that deserves to be hailed as one of 2020’s greatest achievements in music.
The Sun and Her Scorch comes via Royal Mountain Records and is available on all streaming platforms.