Chris Marlon Jennings grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, busking on the streets. He met Jeff Lewis when they were high schoolers on summer vacation at a gathering of old friends and families in Maine. Lewis, a mandolin player and islander, was due at Berklee College of Music on scholarship. After a semester in Boston, he moved to Western Mass to work with Jennings. That collaboration is the core of Sun Parade.
Jennings writes by and large in the language of existential howl, wherein life, love and the pursuit of happiness are a highway pile-up with the distinct possibility of dancing. Lewis spins ethereal, psychedelic glowing pop benevolence, songs sung into an old Fostex recorder and sent out into the world in strands of metaphysic werewolves and sunshine. The dichotomy between the two writers builds an outliers’ love fest, a condition Oscar Wilde once described as living in the gutter with stardust falling on us.
Over time Jennings and Lewis built the five-piece that is Sun Parade, with Karl Helander on drums, percussion, harmonies and ambient barking. [Helander is a powerhouse ideas force — the riffing at the end of “Tear” and the astral vocal descents in “Braindrain” were a couple of his contributions to the album.] Max Wareham (bass) and Eli Salus-Kleiner (keyboard) joined Sun Parade after Shuggy Mtn Breakdown was recorded.
Sun Parade's personal obsessions and projects range from British folk ballads to Motown; collectively their music is most influenced by the mutineers’ pantheon — The Clash, Beastie Boys, Dr. Dog, Nirvana, The Beatles. Sun Parade has supported Lake Street Dive, Dr. Dog, Born Ruffians, and And The Kids. National Public Radio picked “Heart’s Out” — the title track of the band’s previous EP — for Songs We Love, and wrote that Sun Parade is “crafting the kinds of traditional guitar-pop songs that people might still be singing 50 years down the road.”