Sunship Balloon, the project comprising two-thirds of The Wombats, have released their first full album Everywhen. Daniel Haggis and Tord Øverland Knudsen have joined forces to create a 14 song journey through time and space. This experimental album leaves no stone unturned, blending alt-pop, psychedelia, electronica and garage rock. Drawing similarities to Tame Impala and Two Door Cinema Club, the duo delves into a sonic dystopia.
Daniel Haggis shares, “We imagined the album as a journey through the space-like expanse of the mind, floating along in a little space ship looking out at the planets orbiting the Basal Ganglia star. Almost as if we were soundtracking our own sci-fi film.”
Utilising the creative freedom of a side-project, Sunship Balloon fearlessly explores abstract concepts. Dan Haggis shares that his song-writing was inspired by mental health, consumerism, climate change, relationships and technology. The album has a profound theme of escapism, existentialism and fantasy. These eclectic themes have been paired with unique electronic sounds. The duo shared they recorded and made samples of washing machines, air conditioning units and orchestral instruments tuning up.
I can confirm I had to remove my earphones several times to make sure a nearby appliance wasn’t about to explode.
Yet despite the idiosynchrasy the release is buoyed by a palatable indie-pop sound with percussion, bass, synthesisers and relatable lyrics.
Sunship Balloon first entered he music scene in 2019, releasing their debut EP Intergalactic Teacup Travel Centre. The duo describe themselves as "heady mix of inventive time signatures, psychedelic melodies and insanely detailed production". Following this successful release, Sunship Balloon had an impressive line up of live shows and tours booked. However, in the wake of the global pandemic, they were forced to cancel. The duo soldiered on to share three singles leading up to the release of Everywhen: ‘A4 Life’, ‘1224 Fantasia’ and ‘1000 conversations’.
Everywhen opens with futuristic instrumental track ‘1982’, setting the mood for the rest of the album. Three more instrumental tracks are weaved throughout, creating a thread of space inspired thematic elements. Single ‘Interstellar Ride’ features a focussed percussion build up to a cinematic chorus featuring synth soundscapes. Reflecting on existentialism, the song asks ‘Does anyone know why we’re here? Cause I don’t have a f*cking clue’. On a more positive note, the single reminds us to ‘keep to the brighter side’. As the title suggests, this track is a one-way ticket to escape reality.
Leaning more towards the garage rock we would expect from The Wombats, is the single ‘Hashtag World’. Sure to be a fan favourite, this track ditches the synthesisers for raw acoustics. It explores the struggles of social media blurring the lines of reality. With a constant pressure to appear perfect and compare ourselves to others, we’re all just ‘trying to stay happy in this hashtag world'.
A personal favourite of mine- ‘Halycon Days’ truly sums up the surreal theme of this album. This single urges listeners to ‘come and fly away with us into the blackest hole where reality and imagination go their separate ways’. I’m not embarrassed to say I envisioned myself riding the dragon from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In stressful times like these, it’s important to remember you’re never to old to ignite your imagination.
This genre-shifting album is an extremely unique listen crafted by two very talented musicians. It’s refreshing to see artists from our favourite bands use their talents to explore new horizons. With 2 years passing since Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, Everywhen is a scintillating window into more explorative endeavours of the Wombats members.