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Bobbyisms: Sun K brings Northern Lies to London


Toronto band Sun K will be performing at the Black Shire Pub on March 12 to promote its new album Northern Lies.

Bobby Foley | Interrobang | Lifestyles | March 2nd, 2015

I write about random things a lot. I write a lot about random things. No doubt you’re excited as I am about the NHL trade deadline, but with the roller coaster of emotions and exchanges leading up to this, a healthy dose of fresh music may just be what the doctor ordered.

Due for release on March 10, the album Northern Lies marks the major label debut of Sun K, a relatively young band with a mature, robust sound. This eight-song offering samples from different styles of music, deftly blurring the lines between gritty rock and blues while being unafraid to blend in cleaner, more tender tones or subtle horn and string arrangements.

To celebrate the release next week, the five-piece group – guitarists Kristian Montano and Kevin Michael Butler, keyboardist Stuart Retallack, bassist JuHang Sin and drummer Aaron Bravener – have organized an impressive six-week tour across the country that sees them travel first east into the Maritimes and then out to British Columbia and back, while observing a Toronto residency on alternate Wednesday nights in March.

Sun K brings its live show to the Black Shire Pub on March 12, only a couple of weeks into its tour. Yet, the band that we get back from the east coast is going to be razor sharp and toughened from spending this week traversing long spans across the Maritime countryside.

It was an unlikely meeting between front man Montano and producer Cone McCaslin one night during a residency gig in Toronto that led to the album – and the group – being fully realized. The two struck it off, and McCaslin guided the project from the ground up as Montano formed the group with his friends and respected musicians.

“A lot of these songs have been with me for a while, when I was doing more of a folkie thing on my own,” Montano said. “But as the band came together, we started experimenting with heavier tones and seeing how what we all brought to the sound could be incorporated.”

“We wrote more songs along the way, and I think the album overall reflects this journey of discovery we’ve been on for the past two years. It’s been really interesting.”

To the band’s credit, Sun K takes full advantage of McCaslin’s touch. The music on offer is rich and deep, and the band plays to its strengths throughout. The clear, capable production here flexibly captures the sharp guitar blasts of harder selections like “Cowboys + Drugs” as well as softer, warmer tones of “Let It Grow” or “The Road.”

Indeed, it doesn’t take much longer than the opening chords of “Teaser Pt. II” or the first single “New York City Blues” to note the group’s flair for dynamic rhythms and instrumentation not only making Northern Lies a pleasant listen but also adds to the excitement of their coming performance here in London. And at one of the city’s premiere locations for up-andcoming acts.

For more on Sun K and their debut album, visit or follow along on Twitter @sunkofficial. Clocking in at a little over 31 minutes, Northern Lies is well paired with Ryan Adams’ 2014 self-titled album or Fast Romantics’ Afterlife Blues if you find yourself looking for music to play while hanging out with people. Food for thought.

And for more of the latest in music news, album reviews and concert previews, follow this column on Twitter @fsu_bobbyisms. Support your local music scene and celebrate a strong new album by a capable group at the same time, head to the Black Shire Pub next week. I’m out of words.
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