By: Michelle Young, News Editor
Synthy band Sunset Rollercoaster has returned with another dreamy record. The alternative Taiwanese band consists of members Tseng Kuo-Heng (vocals and guitar), Chen Hung-Li (bass), Lo Tsun-Lung (drums), Wang Shao-Hsuan (keyboard), and Huang Hao-Ting (saxophone). Their sound blends elements of R&B, city-pop, and soft rock to create pieces that balance vibrancy with melancholy.
Their newest release, Soft Storm, is their third full-length record and explores the impact that large storms have on individuals. In an email interview with The Peak, the band said that the album concept was inspired by typhoons in Taiwan, stating that typhoons are “common childhood memories. In those memories, power shortages and storms were out there, but [accompanied] by our families and loved ones in the dark, we felt safe and warm. This year is like a storm to us, we are trying to make our music a soft one to connect to each other, so we [can] move on to a brighter future.”
The album starts with a vibrant instrumental piece that swells from the pitter-patter of rain to an extravagantly layered synth arrangement. Then, Soft Storm melodiously blends gentle vocals and guitar on tracks like “Overlove” and “Teahouse” for songs that feel like a corner of comfort and a splinter of hope during dark times.
On establishing their sound, the band said, “We are like unicorns flying around above the heaven of music, no burden, no boundaries. We slowly digest the music we dig online, then it naturally grows in us, we love it and believe in it.”
Lyrics on Soft Storm describe longing for a simpler life in the midst of chaos as Tseng sings “My world is losing control,” “Please understand, there’s no paradise,” and “Don’t wake me up from this dream, I wanna live with you in a teahouse.”
On the writing process, the band expressed that they “just spend hours and hours jamming, let[ting] the music do its own thing.” They then listen to the tracks on repeat which allows Tseng to make the music into songs. Though Taiwanese, their discography is primarily in English — Tseng’s second language. The band has previously stated that this to give their audience the space to derive their own meaning.
Soft Storm leans into resonance with groovy uptunes on “Hyperfocus” and striking ambience on “Midnight with Paul,” the penultimate track on the album. This blends into the final track, “Candlelight ft. OHHYUK” — a soft and synthy piece that explores mourning and the fragility of human life, which can be “snuffed out like candlelights.”
The track starts gently, building to a burning point and ending the album with melancholic peace. The music video depicts the pain of a funeral and Sunset Rollercoaster explained that funerals mirror a “storm of emotion,” as “it brings chaos and darkness, but through love, it [solidifies] us [and makes] us stronger, so we [can] embrace a brighter future.
“During these hard times, music and love bring us together, let’s make the world a better place,” the band concluded.