Sianvar are a supergroup of sorts. The band is a collaborative project between members of Dance Gavin Dance, A Lot Like Birds, Stolas and Hail the Sun. All of these groups turn out consistently solid material, yet when the band released their debut EP, something was amiss. The music was okay, but it didn’t feel like the pieces were in their proper places just yet. Now, with their debut full-length Stay Lost, Sianvar have found their groove that allows them to harness elements of all the individual bands that they’re composed of to make music that sounds one-of-a-kind.
Sianvar seems to contain the essence of swancore. Hell, the group has Will Swan in it! For those unaware, swancore is a subgenre of music that includes groups who make music similar in nature to Dance Gavin Dance, as that is Will’s main band. The label that Sianvar are on is an imprint of Will’s called Blue Swan Records and with Stay Lost, it feels like the label has given birth to their definitive swancore band. All the bands on the label may not sound like Sianvar or this record, but the technical, melodic riffing, higher-pitched vocals and loads of grooves in the music indicate a band that stays true to the spirit of the groundwork laid down my Mr. Swan and DGD.
If you’re wondering whether or not the released singles from the album are a reasonable indicator of most of the material present on the record, wonder no longer. The music given to us in advance of the albums release is a fair indicator of the great quality of the album as a whole. ‘Omniphobia’ demonstrates the huge choruses that Donovan Molero seems to nail with ease and the colorful and cascading guitar-work of Will Swan and Sergio Medina. ‘Psychosis Succumbing’ demonstrates the very capable bass skills of Michael Franzino and the tasteful, tight drumwork of Joe Arrington. ‘Bedroots’ does all of the above and rounds out the three singles released so far quite well, despite being the weakest of the three tracks. There may be more singles released before the album drop on August 5th, but if there weren’t it would make a fair amount of sense. These songs tell you enough about the music to sell you on what you haven’t heard yet.
Now, if you’re not impressed with the songs released so far and you’re still on the fence about listening to the album when it releases, some of the best tracks on the album aren’t singles. ‘Coordinate Love’ is an absolute banger of a track that has upbeat grooves for days, the title track and opener ‘Stay Lost’ goes from being a slow, melancholic stroll to a thrilling explosion of energy multiple times over its nearly five minute run-time while managing to not slip up along the way and the closer ‘Stay Scared’ has a re-occurring riff that’s sound gigantic and makes it a powerful closing track. The only tracks that may be seen as weak links in Stay Lost‘s chain are ‘Foxholes and Deities’ and ‘Bedroots’, due to either staying too long on a particular section or meandering.
Stay Lost sees Sianvar settling into a sound that is both familiar and exciting. The irony of the album title is palpable as it really seems like they’ve found themselves with their debut full-length. As a fan of all these bands individually, it feels wonderful to have a distillation of what they do best. This is music that you can get lost and stay lost in.