For most, time seems to be a fast-disappearing luxury, but not so for Sun June. The Austin, TX-based five-piece make unhurried, expansive indie-rock songs that are delicately, almost psychedelically stretched out; time, for them, is less a constraint as much as it is a new instrument to play with, a form to bend and subvert.
That element of their music has never been as clearly on display as on “Karen O,” the lead single from the band’s new album Somewhere, out February 2021 via Run For Cover and Keeled Scales. “Karen O,” which takes place over a single night at a basement Karen O show in Brooklyn, requires patience from the listener as it builds towards its exquisite payoff, opening with just Laura Colwell’s steady, unhurried vocal over barely-there guitar. Never increasing its glacial pace, the song invites you to stew in the stillness of the scene, creating impact with care, not force. It’s a smart, considered way to set the tone for Somewhere.
Of the song, the band tells The FADER via email:
“Karen O' is one of the only songs we've written that takes place over the course of a single night, and we hope we captured what it feels like when you're completely worn out but can't bring yourself to go home and go to sleep. It's about the kind of night you let heartache swallow you whole, and you find yourself heading straight toward the things you should be running away from. The actual Karen O is a hero of ours of course, and in the song, she spurs on a lonely night of reflection about what could be versus what can't. It covers some of our favorite topics-love, performance, regret, and hereditary drinking problems-and explores how we sometimes choose to heighten grief rather than reduce it. It also features a voicemail mailbox, which is unfortunate.
We shot the video out on a Texas Hill Country ranch with a spotlight ranchers use to check on cattle at night (very Texas of us). We thought the stage lights and disco ball helped draw out the connection between feeling an emotion and performing it, both for yourself and others. We got lucky and happened to shoot during a lightning storm, so we went full melodrama with it."