Sunday, August 17, 2008

Certain Distant Suns - Happy on the Inside (1994, Giant)

Yet another Chicago band, Certain Distant Suns were kings of the Windy City scene for a brief moment in the early 90s. Formed in 1989 by Justin Mroz and Lance Stewart, they spent their first couple years as a band gigging around Chicago as a duo backed only by electronics. By 1992 they had added enough members to become a full band and self-released their first EP, "Huge", with the "Dogrocket" EP following in 1993. On the strength of these EP's college radio airplay and sizable following within Chicago, the band signed with Warner Music Group imprint label, Giant Records, who re-released the two EP's as a full length album, "Happy on the Inside", in 1994.

"Happy on the Inside" is an interesting blend of the swirling guitars of shoegaze bands like Ride or My Bloody Valentine with the sample-heavy, danceable elements of Jesus Jones or "Screamadelica"-era Primal Scream; the songs feature samples from techno, hip hop, and even a choir of chanting monks. Despite counting largely British influences, Mroz's vocals are a distinctly American semi-drawl. The band released one more record, "Boss Nova", in 1996 before disbanding.  Guitarist Kerry Finerty would later spend some time as a member of another Chicago band, electro-rock act Kill Hannah.

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