The Sunsets release debut studio album with a bang

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Members of The Sunsets, (Left to Right) Devin Gordy, Allen Poore, Torsten Dryden, Daniel O’Donnell, Jack Vermuth, and Breihan Dryden, pose after their concert in Atlanta on Sunday, July 1. (Taylor Mitchell, The Chanticleer)

Taylor Mitchell, Chanticleer Reporter


On Sunday July 1st, Jacksonville band The Sunsets released their first ever studio album with a bang.

They debuted their new album, Heartbeat Massacre, with a concert at the Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday. They played alongside The Sagas, Russian Love Machine, and The APX.

The Sunsets are a local rock band made up of front man and keyboardist Torsten Dryden, saxophonist Daniel O’Donnell, drummer Breihan Dryden, bassist Allen Poore and lead guitarist Devin Gordy. Also joining them on stage for the concert Sunday were Jack Vermuth, guitarist and newest member of the band, and Brett Stewart, who produced the album.

Breihan Dryden said the show went well and was a relief for the band to finally perform.

“It was essentially 3 years worth of pent up anxiety and excitement finally being released,” said Dryden. The Sunsets played through the album on stage, showcasing a wide range of songs that included topics such as love, vampires, cities at the bottom of the sea, and even John Hughes films.

Dryden says he thinks the album has really been well-received so far. “People have been very receptive and I couldn’t be happier.”

The band’s sound is a unique 80’s infused post-punk sound mixed with heavy use of saxophone and synth keyboard. It gives an unmistakable 80s vibe while staying very modern, especially in songs like “Frontera De La Muerte.” The album also used a hornline for several songs. Dryden says this is largely because the group shares a marching band background, and working with so many wind instruments just seemed a natural fit to them.

Daniel O’Donnell’s saxophone was originally added to the band for use in a cover of “Midnight City” by M38, but the saxophone has grown to become a large part of the band’s current sound. The only songs that do not rely heavily on sax are “Frontera de la Muerte,” which still makes some use of the insrument, and “As the Light Fades,” which abandons most instruments for only cello and piano.

Dryden says “As the Light Fades” is a particularly emotional song for the group

“People were crying when we recorded it,” said Dryden on the emotion wrapped up in the song. Dryden explains that it is very applicable and relevant to every member of the band. Dryden also says the group will not be playing the song very often because of the emotional connection.

“Frontera de la Muerte,” on the other hand, is described as “just a fun song about vampires in a desert.” When asked why the song has screaming in the background vocals Dryden simply laughed and asked who wouldn’t scream in that situation.

Heartbeat Massacre is available on all digital retailers starting on July 5th.

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