There are plenty of strengths these Michigan boys can (and do) manipulate in their sound, including a triple-threat front line of three vocalists, a strong, cinematic lead guitarist and my personal favorite: an emotive, carefully planned symbiotic writing style, in which each individual part of the composition seamlessly blends with the sentiment of the lyrics. Firstly, the three singers all have something positive to offer, with the two DeLeon brothers perfectly complementing each other (Alec’s high harmonies in particular are especially preternatural) and Aaron Rush offering a nice counterpoint in the choruses. Rush also keeps things interesting throughout “Skeleton Key” with his refined guitar riffs, which add yet another layer of complexity to the already exceedingly diverse single.
Gone By Sunset truly comes to shine, though, during the bridge, where Aaron Bradley decimates his drums, slamming his sticks against them with the utmost vigor, all while remarkably in sync with DeLeon’s smooth lamentations. This is where Gone By Sunset rises above so many other bands. The guitars pulse and pause with an emotional chaos but still somehow manage to lock in with the intricate percussion—a far cry from the cookie cutter modern breakdown, with its expected robotic chugging and listless clichés. In an intimate, but huge moment, DeLeon clamors over the uselessness of combative, petty songwriting while his bandmates stagger over ineffable walls of chords, unleashing them at the most emotionally compelling, not quantized, of moments. This makes “Skeleton Key” play as more human than anything else, and thus, far more impactful.
I tend to commend any song with a successful, relatable catharsis, and the earth-shattering power of every member of Gone By Sunset simultaneously screaming through their instruments in “Skeleton Key” is certainly a sound to behold. If this is any indication of what’s to come, it’s thankfully going to be a long time before Gone By Sunset actually manifests their namesake.
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By: Max Puhala