Three years can add up. It’s how long since the seeds for Super American’s debut album, Tequila Sunrise, were first planted. In that time, the Buffalo indie rockers—duo Matt Cox and Pat Feeley—catalogued their twin romantic fables with a lyrical charm weaving between character study and thorny self-awareness. And like the album title suggests, there’s a sunny disposition shot through with clouds. It’s no wonder Cox and Feeley have written a pop-rock record for punk clubs, with drum machines and shout-along choruses marking the division between polish and pure emotion.
Tequila Sunrise is, at its core, a spectacle for twenty-something identities: the ones built sweating over read receipts, taking rideshares to band practice, neglecting proper self-care for a night on the couch. The loves threaded throughout the LP are complicated and anxious, where something as simple as a shared sweatshirt (like on “Commitment Issues”) becomes a chance to air dirty laundry and appeal for better emotional intelligence. Super American also gives its listeners a crash course in astrology (see “Estoy Eternamente Lo Siento” and “Casino Blonde,” two tracks finishing up the album’s first half), attempting to surrender control to the stars to explain Instagram feeds and unanswered crushes. All the while, Super American blend textures together to move from sparse, acoustic arrangements to full-strength neon pop at breathtaking speed.
And despite its wide cast of characters—the alluring Hands Down Olivia, the gawkish Chris from Walmart, and the loyal, silent Mike Taxi—none of them ride off into the sunset. Super American themselves might’ve gotten the better casting choices, having three years of missteps to correct in future relationships and releases. That’s what makes Tequila Sunrise the perfect next-gen romantic comedy: it’s aware of its shortcomings to create an engrossing narrative for the long run.