Written by Maria Arroyo
Philadelphia-based project, Mock Suns, is coming back with a different approach: as the first solo-release by original member Greg Puglese. Wanting to “keep the spirit of the project alive,” Puglese uses this album as an opportunity to reflect on his “life-long quest for validation as an artist in a world flooded with them, and the constant battle between embracing and rejecting the brazen self-indulgence that inherently comes along with that quest.”
“Honest but never too self-serious,” Puglese “grapples with the guilt that’s born from said selfishness — a guilt that only gets compounded with age.” He takes this moment to reflect on themes of isolation and hopelessness, to restraint and fulfillment.
The opening track, “Full Time,” creates a nice spacey and synth-drenched sound that is also paired with some interesting chordal choices. The song is interesting, and the hook is memorable. While the sections of the song felt a little long, each section has a true purpose in bringing the song to the next level. “Perfect Stranger” is sultry with some blues and jazz-inspired vibes, and becomes a great come down from the first song.
Lead single “Enchanted Forest” still carries the same heavy synth sounds from previous songs, with a bit more of a modern twist. The sound he creates is catchy, yet animated, in the best way. It completely lifts your energy up a few notches and honestly, I was listening to this record in the morning and I felt ready for the day ahead of me! There are so many moments of such incredible musicianship that he exhibits, all while making it sound effortless.
The track, “In the Meantime,” becomes the most intriguing of the songs in terms of its melodic contour. It’s so enticing and keeps the listener tangled in its web until the very last second.
“The First Ever Image of a Black Hole on an Apple Cinema Display” is another beautiful jazz inspired piece, this time, just as an instrumental. Even without words, I held tight to the song while it told me the most stunning story. While Mock Suns brings a darker side of its music to light with “Get A New Dream,” “A Different Shade of Green” brings some more futuristic-like stylings to the surface, while still showcasing the small attention to detail. Everything from the interesting rhythmic choices, to all of the different elements that were sewn together, which makes for an incredibly creative and explorative song.
Bringing a more cinematic feel and texture to the album is “More.” There’s a ton of rise and fall within the elements of the song, and it makes the song feel and act so much bigger than it already is, if that’s even possible.
“A Very Small Number, Really” is another favorite in terms of melodic and rhythmic pull, which offer more variety to his already-cultured sound, while adding an element of freshness to the table. Ending this experimental yet emotion-filled album is “Only An Ocean” with a more somber atmosphere to end on, but with a final note of hopefulness that brings this journey to an end.
This self-titled album is sophisticated in both it’s sound and creation, and I really think he’s created something bigger than just a solo journey as Mock Suns. Puglese pushes the envelope in so many aspects, and it really paid off.
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