Avian Sunrise - A Noisy World
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: April 6, 2010
Avian Sunrise are a piano-rock band from Vermillion, South Dakota. They released their debut EP in May of 2009, entitled Your Broken Fall. The album was a fairly frustrating listen; while the songwriting was very good, the production left much to be desired. The band chose a very stripped-down approach to producing the album, which proved unsuccessful for a band that relies heavily on atmospheric build up and ambient piano and guitars. It also seemed like little attention was paid to details on the vocal tracks, as lead vocalist Bryan Wehrkamp is clearly out of key a number of times on the EP. The band have followed up their debut with a seven-track release called A Noisy World, which is a major step up in production value as well as songwriting.
The EP begins with the self-titled track, containing a minute or so of ambient build-up until launching into the fast-paced rocker "Fear No More." Drummer Brock Schardin sets an upbeat pace for the verses before the band explodes into a soaring chorus. Wehrkamp's voice resonates throughout the chorus as he sings "Is it too late to break down every wall/And to live in fear no more?" The track contains impressive musicianship and a stunningly catchy melody. The tempo slows down a bit for the piano-heavy "What You Deserve" before the next real stand-out track, "Set You Free." Wehrkamp delivers some moving storytelling-esque lyrics during the verses, and doesn't disappoint with another infectiously catchy chorus.
Throughout the EP, Avian Sunrise prove that they are talented songwriters, shown through the mastery of writing great vocal melodies around perfect rhythm instrument arrangements. The production value is also a huge step up; the album is a lot more polished than the band's debut, and the ambience actually sounds appropriate. Also improved are the recording of Wehrkamp's and guitarist Luke Volden's vocal tracks. Both of them sound much more accurate for the most part, and even in parts of the release where they don't, it's easier to listen to, as it gives the track more character, makes it real. Lyrically, the EP goes back and forth. The lyrics can sound powerful on songs like "What You Deserve" ("It takes only seconds to get lost/But how much will it cost/To bring you back to your feet?", but other times Wehrkamp can come off like a total Tom Delonge ("The lord knows your hurtin' inside/The sun don't shine as bright as you like" or "You're alive/You don't have to run anymore/You're alive/It's what you've been fighting for"). Cringe-worthy lyrics put aside, the production value and songwriting sense both have been improved upon since the band's last release.
The album closes out with a couple slow songs, "The Loved" and "Alive," and then a more upbeat final track, "Brightest Day." This track is another true stand-out as the verses are filled with beautiful delayed guitars, a great pre-chorus build-up into the booming chorus, and lyrics worth listening to. The track ends with a spectacular outro that could match the intensity of even the outro to Straylight Run's "Existentialism on Prom Night." The album ends with one last line from Wehrkamp and a piano chord, leaving the listener surprised at the songwriting abilities displayed so early in a band's career.
A Noisy World showcases Avian Sunrise's ability to write emotional up-beat rock songs, as well as slow tempo piano ballads, and do both with impressive musicianship. Once again, small tweaks to the production make this band's songs much more appealing. Hopefully this release is a sneak peak into what could potentially be a stellar full-length album. A Noisy World proves that Avian Sunrise sure have the potential to pull that off.