Skip to main content
A Magazine for

The Manchester edition of Now Then is no longer publishing content. Visit the Sheffield edition.

The Suncharms Distant Lights

The Suncharms’ 30 year journey to their first album is over. Yes, you read that right – 30 years. And it’s been worth the wait.

Released: 20 August 2021
Distant Lights

Picture the scene. It’s 1991. Backed by a steadfast Sheffield following, you’ve just released two EPs, made a dent in the indie charts and recorded a John Peel session at the BBC.

The future’s bright, right? Wrong. Success sadly stalled, and a lack of momentum led to the band going down a well-trodden nineties indie path, culminating in Palmer, Neale, Malone, Farnell and Ridley going their separate ways. The Suncharms’ sunburst was over.

Or was it? In 2016, Cloudberry Records (a New York label specialising in reissuing ‘tough to find’ music generated by social media interest) approached the band with a view to releasing a nineties compilation CD. A comeback single, ‘Red Dust / Film Soundtrack’, followed in 2018, with the now-reconvened band taking a further three years to record the brand new songs that make up Distant Lights – extraordinarily, their inaugural LP. After 30 years, The Suncharms’ fire had finally been relit.

There are echoes of their indie past on show in the ten tracks, but there’s an audible expansion of sonics that pervade the album, including strings, brass and synths that provide a 21st century sheen to the songs. The title track opens proceedings with reverb-drenched vocals and guitars and a nicely sinister riff, before ‘Dream of a Time Machine’ explores a great Charlatans vibe that you can do a Tim Burgess butter churn dance to.

The stakes are raised on ‘Seas of Titan’, with its Inspiral Carpets organ melody and great chorus, while ‘Casting Shadows’ evokes a dreamy, sunlit meander through the musical woods with a middle section guitar break that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Burt Bacharach number. Standout closer ‘Lucifer’ has a (British) Sea Power ‘Carrion’-era intro before gathering pace like a runaway train with soaring, spiralling guitars.

The Suncharms deserve every success with this album. It’s been a long time coming, but Distant Lights finally brings that historic potential to fruition.

Filed under: