Setting Sun: 'What We Wanted'

Setting Sun 300 new album Children of the Wild i i
Amber S. Clark
Setting Sun 300 new album Children of the Wild
Amber S. Clark

Setting Sun is a quintet led by frontman and producer Gary Levitt. The band's third album, Children of the Wild, evokes the laid-back simple life of Levitt's Upstate New York home. Driven by simple acoustic guitar lines, Erica Quitzow's graceful string orchestrations, and Levitt's hushed vocals, Setting Sun's arrangements are dramatic and poignant.

Levitt's whispery vocals might remind listeners of a less depressed Elliott Smith. Levitt mixes softly cooed choruses and murmured spoken-word verses on the album's opening track, "What We Wanted," giving the sense that he's playing and singing to himself. This personal, confiding style lends the music its defining intimacy. Levitt the storyteller is immediately alluring, offering an inviting closeness in the whisper and croon of his honest lyrics.

Along with Setting Sun's characteristic guitars, cello, violin, drums, and backing singers, the band also travels with a synthesizer. Unobtrusively, the band mixes synth experimentalism in with its folky, string-band sound — at times to great effect. "No Devil No More," Children of the Wild's second track, takes blue-note melodies and a driving beat and sets them against scratching violins and ambient electronic feedback. The resulting gloominess well-emphasizes the track's melancholic lyrics.

The band sets out on a month-long cross-country tour starting June 24, with a three-week European tour due in November.

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