Culprit - Sonder

I still remember when I was first introduced to Culprit. And since that first show I’ve seen them in various venues around Los Angeles and Orange County. Each time, they leave it all on the stage and that’s what makes them a band I continue to follow. It’s been a long wait for a full-length but that wait comes to an end with the release of Sonder.

“Gargantua” starts with a radio transmission that’s like something out of a sci-fi horror movie. From there, Travis brings a stellar vocal performance that is consistent throughout the whole album. The way this band puts together a song — vocally, lyrically, and musically — just meshes so well. Not to mention, they have a good amount of versatility. “Gargantua” ends with a long scream from Travis, but not one that detracts from the song. For someone who isn’t a fan of songs with a ton of screaming, Culprit knows when it’s appropriate and when it’s not needed at all. In a song like “Glow,” Travis takes a softer approach to the vocals.

Since starting in 2006, the band has had some line up changes, mostly at guitar. Currently, Eddie Rosales is filling that role and he’s also a part of fellow LA band, Back Pocket Memory. Despite the various changes at guitar, I’ve always found that position to be a standout part of the band. For the intro to “Scarlett,” the band dials it back and you get to hear how they go from plucking notes to completely rocking out. It’s these kinds of dynamics in a song that draw you to this band.

While I don’t live in LA, I still consider bands from there to be local since they often hit up the OC area as well. It’s been a joy watching this band grow and they deserve to be heard by so many more people. They’re one of those bands that you don’t want to just be a local band forever. With this being their first full-length, I was wanting much more than just 10 songs. This band is full of potential. They can fly through songs at a break-neck pace or slow it down a bit like they do in “Contempathy.”

“Songbird” was released in 2015, well before we knew there was a full length coming. Once I heard that song, I instantly wanted to know what the band had in the works. It wasn’t until November 2016 that we heard “Anything” as the first official single off of Sonder. After that, they released a cover of “Shameless” by The Weeknd, which they recorded while recording the record. (It doesn’t make it on there, but you can go give it a listen here.)

The second to last track, “Siren (Reprise),” is a new rendition of the song, which first appeared on Analogue, an EP they released back in 2011. It’s a longer version of the song and well deserving of being on the record. The album then closes out with “Denali.” The song slows things down again for a nice, calm vibe. It builds up towards the end, but brings it back down for the final seconds of the album.

This is a solid release and everything I was hoping for in the band’s first full-length. They funded the album through PledgeMusic so they could release it themselves, and there’s still some time left to contribute. It’s an album that’s well worth your time, so do yourselves a favor and check it out.