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The Sun

By: Kerry Miller

Rock snobs have a number of reasons to be skeptical about the Sun — starting with the “The.” But on most of those critiques, the band’s own A&R guy beat you to the punch. “I’ve signed a band called the Sun, and I would say that was influenced by the fact that the Strokes and Vines have gone on to success,” Perry Watts-Russell told Spin in 2002. “This is the new movement — bands that are reminiscent of things that came before, but doing it in a different way.”

Before your eyes start rolling, you might have a little compassion for Chris Burney and his band of merry Midwesterners, whose story reads like the kind of cautionary tale Steve Albini might tell to his acolytes (you know, big label monster chews up and spits out poor little wide-eyed artistes). It all starts with Burney, who went to Ohio State before dropping out to pursue music, playing backup for singer/songwriter Tim Easton. When Easton decided to move to L.A., Burney went too, along with some demo tapes he’d recorded. No indie labels were interested, but through Burton, he met a guy who suggested that if he got a band together, he’d have a shot at the majors. Burney called in the help of some other talented Ohioans — including Sam Brown, drummer for the New Bomb Turks — and after about three hours as a band, Burney and his new bandmates signed on the dotted line with Warner Brothers. They got a new van, a logo, and an opening spot for the Flaming Lips. What they didn’t get for four frustrating years — until this week — was a full-length album.

It’s not 2002 anymore, and since being a “the” band is no longer gimmick enough, Warner Bros. has cooked up another. Blame it on the Youth will be released Sept. 27 on vinyl, as a digital download, and as a DVD with videos for all 14 songs — but not as a CD. It’s an experiment that, so far, has nearly eclipsed the actual music that’s on the album, a likable, if uneven collection of mostly Weezer-ish pop songs with nods to Modest Mouse, Pavement, and early ’90s ska-punk. The videos are a mixed bag too, and it’s pretty clear from the production values which ones were done professionally and which were shot in a renegade, home video style. As a whole, the album makes it clear why they got signed — the raw talent is there. What nobody seems too clear on is what the Sun, as a band, is supposed to be. They’re figuring it out though, and that’s exciting to watch.

Link: The Sun official site