On their most recent single out ahead of their forthcoming release “Milk Goddess,” Sun Looks Down have efficiently crafted a sound that evades and complicates convenient genre classification like few other NYC groups can. Having first been exposed to the Columbia University-formed band serving as the rhythm section for Amani Fela at Munchies II back in April, I was immediately struck by their crisp musicianship, intense live chemistry on stage and stylistic versatility. I couldn’t quite put my thumb on their brand of urban psychedelia back then, and I’m happy to report that I still can’t – it’s equal parts riffy shoegaze and slinky trip-hop, sprinkled with some shredded funk-rock, all allowed to marinate and blend together until the constituent parts recede into the soup, leaving behind a complex broth of sonic refreshment. This track was also engineered by Vaughn Hunt (and mastered by Oliver Ignatius of BK guitar band classic studio Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen), and the production RIPS.
In comparison to the selections off of their previous “Sungaze” EP (which, counter to the title, struck me with more lunar-nocturnal vibes), “Inverse Amen” marks a more potent and urgent soundscape. Introducing itself with a series of familiar gestures – the floor tom-driven beat, saturnine synth line, and scorched guitar tone – the track is tied together by the unsettling, otherworldly leads of vocalist Diana Flanagan. I don’t believe that “haunting” is a strong enough adjective to describe what Flanagan achieves with her soaring melodies, but her neat-operatic dramatism is the single most expressive feature of the song (think Portishead on stimulants, or Evanescence without the forced angst) and will stick with you long after the final incantations of “Inverse Amen.”