The Glowing City is an album with minor real estate problems. The streets are lined with hot-ticket houses, but the attics are dusty. One broom to the cobwebs and it could be a fine ambassador for Texas alt rock.
Bill Baird clearly learned a thing or two opening for Arcade Fire with Sound Team in the early aughts. Sadly, one of the lessons Sunset struggles with is rhythm. The Glowing City occasionally fumbles as far as tempo, little hiccups Sunset manages to overcome as the album progresses.
Like any up-and-coming neighborhood, there are a few solid investments here. “When Perfect Flames Expire” stands out as a fine example of the band getting better as its tone grows darker. And the bright “Dear Friend” sees Sunset rally like the Minnesota Twins in every other eighth inning. The latter features the album’s prime estate in the form of fleeting klezmer segments, a bold tip of the yarmulke to the likes of John Zorn.
The Glowing City could do with some downsizing, coming in at a whopping 79 minutes. But like any budding side project, it’s a fixer-upper worth throwing some money at.
Sunset plays the Badlander Wednesday, June 3, at 9 PM, with Cottonwood Draw and Greenhouse Effect. $5.