Thicker Threads at a first listen seems to be an album drenched in sunshine, but a closer one presents us with music that is better appreciated on those cloudy days when all you can hope for is a flicker of light that will make your day a little brighter. The San Jose, California artist could be described as an Ulrich Schnauss with a darker edge, while also reminding us of the Abassi Brothers and their ability to build melodies that bring to mind pleasant memories.
In his third album, Anthony Raad, the man behind The Sun Aesthetic, makes use of technology to produce a more electronic, dream-popish version of the post-rock build-ups we love. The pieces are built around lovely keyboard melodies, which are soon accompanied by percussion, which helps build a rhythm, because music that you can’t move your feet to isn’t really music (or at least that’s what our ancestors banging primitive drums made of hollow tree trunks would say). He belongs to a generation of artists such as The American Dollar that have a flair for the dramatic much like bands such as Explosions in the Sky, but make use of a more detached, electronic approach.
There is an underlying darkness in the music, most prevalent in tracks such as “Embers” or “Bigger Circles,” a melancholy that is natural, given the ups and downs we all experience in our lives. The sun aesthetic however is, more than anything, a philosophy, and in the end sunshine and positive emotions always prevail in the form of a victorious melodic big bang. The production is clean (which isn’t always a good thing but it works here), without much distortion, static or anything else that could be described as weird. The background noise (a variety of instruments and electronic sounds is used) feels organic and part of a bigger whole. The artist asks us to keep our face up and face the world confidently and with a smile. What we are essentially left with after listening to this album is the feeling of peace and quiet that surrounds us once we encounter beauty in its purest form. (John Kontos)