By Jim Schutze
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Denton's Sundress is not one of those bands whose members jump around yelling, "Look at me!" They don't clamor excitedly for attention in conversation, talking over one another and cutting each other off mid-sentence. Nor do they do it in song.
They're not a band, like many others, whose personality changes completely the second they take the stage and begin performing. Instead, their calm, laid-back demeanors seem only to guide the music as it drifts comfortably on a raft of dreamy chords and sliding melodies.
In a way, they're a new band—they have a new name, a fairly new member and a sound that's beginning to separate itself from the early acoustic-based stylings of This Old House. The feeling, though, of its spacey, folk-influenced rock music is still the driving force of the band, albeit one that is developing into something bigger and louder.
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"Our music was a lot more chill," says keyboardist Jim Harrington, "Now we're trying to move in a direction of more energy."
And in the direction of a more concrete name, too: The band's name progression from This Old House to Odyssey to, finally, Sundress was confusing—and done primarily for legal reasons, as the first two names breached copyright law—but was still appropriate due to the slightly changing nature of the band's sound.
"It's gotten more fuzzy," says bassist Drew McCary.
Sundress' new seven-song EP, Fever, however, is a release that is fairly representative of where the band is right now.
"In the future, that's how we want it to sound, so we're going to be moving in that direction," says lead singer and guitarist Ryan McAdams.
Now that the band has a CD to physically hand to people, they want to start playing more gigs out of town, and have their sights set on touring a year from now.
"This summer, we're going to be focused on getting out of town as much as possible," says McAdams. "Denton's great, but there's no more outlets we can reach to get our name out there."
They have a point: Sundress seems to be onto something that, although not breaking any new ground, still doesn't fit neatly into the folk, rock or electronic music scenes of Denton.
"It's hard to find bands to book us with here," McAdams says.
But Sundress does possess both the skill and musical quality to be a touring outfit. And, already, the wheels for taking that next step are in motion: Sundress heads to Austin and San Antonio in June and will headline a show at the Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff on May 29 alongside fellow Denton-based acts WRITER, Daniel Folmer and Caleb Ian Campbell.