Shoegaze in Bloom | “Walkers Beware! We Drive Into the Sun” by Sweet Trip

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Matt Cruz, Writer/Volunteer

Sweet Trip is a San Francisco-based group, known throughout the musical underground for their unique blend of shoegaze and IDM. What was once a group of five has slowly reduced over the years to the duo of Roberto Burgos and Valerie Cooper. From the database disco of 1998’s Halica to 2009’s blissful You Will Never Know WhySweet Trip quickly established themselves as a band on the cutting edge of shoegaze. Yet after nearly ten years of nonstop production and three phenomenal records, Sweet Trip virtually halted all musical output. Though, that’s not to say that the group was completely dormant; front-man Roberto Burgos had released archival material and outtakes, but nothing new had ever surfaced.

Sweet trip’s latest single is a lush combination of candied synthesizers, honey-glazed guitar and the glittering stardust of their androgynous harmonies. One would think that after ten years of stagnation, Sweet Trip would become a group confined to the greatness of their past and fizzle out into obscurity. I am happy to report that that is not the case.

“Walkers Beware! We Drive Into the Sun” triumphantly disproves their naysayers, distilling the greatest moments of their glitch-pop epic Velocity:Design:Comfort and the bittersweet sine wave of breakup pop on You Will Never Know Why. Sweet Trip proves with the snap of their fingers and the strum of a guitar, they can effortlessly construct a gospel chock-full of lush production, dreamlike melodies and childlike wonder.

 

 

A chopped and screwed voice ghastly deadpans:

 

“A vehicle passing through the street /

There it is /

Might be there /

The hilarity of something, you know? /

Looks like this /

*Laughter*” 

 

Suddenly, the strums of a sun-bleached guitar cut in, reverberating an unparalleled warmth between each chord.

Channeling the emotional vacancy in a style like Slowdive’s gut-wrenching closer “Dagger,” Sweet Trip seemingly takes the solemn backdrop of an acoustic guitar and maintains its intimate confessional qualities—all while delicately balancing a Banksy of discordant sounds atop. 

 

“Serenade tonight we whisper /

Souls made out of blood /

We have all the time /

Dress, undress /

This pattern /

Aching to repeat /

Drive into the sun /

Beware” 

 

The flourishing chimes of icy synths ripple downward into a neon haze. The jangle of the trilling guitar becomes a constant stream of drizzling sound. 

 

“Dress, undress la la la /

Hold, be held la la la /

Crash your lips with mine into the sun /

Serenade tonight we whisper /

Souls made out of blood /

Wе have all the time /

Bеware” 

 

Grainy cymbals suddenly interject the meticulously crafted soundscape. The tear-faced guitar melody erupts into a kaleidoscopic leg-shuffler, somehow perfect for both a house show and dance floor. The keys explode in a restrained shriek across the track.

An idiosyncratic harmony of Burgos and Cooper whisper in your ear: “To all, to all.”

As the silicon fireworks of their cavernous computer light up your eyes, you lean in for an embrace—and end up with a kiss. This moment replays itself endlessly, creating a sublime time loop suspended in space. The percussion blossoms from the matured bud of its branch, the snares develop into a rapturous groove with the powder keg of snow fallen hi-hats. Claps and disembodied vocals wonderfully harmonize with the swelling wall of sound, slowly coming to an unraveling wail, “To all.” 

The ribbons and sequins of the soundscape begin to unfurl and crumble with the elegant trapeze of noise becoming graffitied on the collapsing sound-mass, panning up and down the ears. It vanishes before your eyes in a blink—a thin golden rope collapsing into a shimmering powder that falls to the ground in an iridescent extinguishment.

Sweet Trip have proven that, despite the creative hiatus they have taken, they are still capable of making music that is wonderfully decadent, emotionally resonant and inhumanly warm.