Review: Sunset Rollercoaster further cements their sound in Soft Storm


Sunset Rollercoaster

Soft Storm, the third album put out by Sunset Rollercoaster, was released on October 30.

Kelly Colanto, Social Chair

The musical group, Sunset Rollercoaster released a new album on October 30. The piece is titled Soft Storm and is classified as a more alternative genre.

Sunset Rollercoaster is a jazz-influenced pop band from Taipei, Taiwan. The members consist of Kuo-Hung Tseng (vocals and guitar), Hung-Li Chen (bass), Shao-Hsuan Wang (keyboard), Tsun-Lung Lo (drums), and Shih-Wei Huang (percussion).

The band is most famously known for their song My Jinji which was a part of their EP, otherwise known as a mini-album, called Jinji Kikko. The song originally grew in popularity over the last few months on the website TikTok, and gets more streams every day.

This album is influenced heavily by their past work, and that is obvious when listening to these songs versus their others. It is clear that they intended to cement their unique sound through their new releases, while further developing elements that show how they have grown as a group.

The first song in the album is entitled Soft Storm, based on the name of the album. The piece is fully instrumental with no lyrics. I believe this was a powerful way to start off the project because it gives some insight into the rest of the songs, and displays how, most times, the background music is the most vital part of a song.

The next song in the album is named Overlove. It begins with a shorter instrumental section and quickly starts the lyrics saying “What do you want me to see? / So I could believe / That she’ll never leave.” This string of lines seems to illustrate a heartbroken person who simply wants to feel love from someone else. Throughout the piece, synth notes are apparent, adding an extra touch of musicality. There is a very strong whistle note in the background, and I appreciated this because it made the song feel more instrumentally inclined.

Under the Skin is the third song in the album, and originally was released as a single on October 25. The song begins with a mellow, lengthy instrumental component that sets the tone for the rest of the piece. The lyrics “Under this wonderful skin / Is hidden a deadly sin” emplify the idea that if someone is beautiful on the outside, you need to examine “under the skin” on their personality and how they treat others. The way someone acts within is the biggest show of character, so the band made this the biggest take away from the lyrics. This could go both ways and elaborate on the idea of not judging someone based on their appearance, whether it be conventionally “good” or “bad.”

The official music video for Under the Skin was posted on Sunset Rollercoaster’s YouTube account on October 25 and it consists of a hand puppet walking around a picnic table, dancing on every beat. This seemed to be a very well pictured stylistic choice for their idea of Under the Skin.

The fourth song in this project is titled Passerby, and it features Michael Seyer, a member of the band Bane’s World. This song gives off a retro feeling in the beginning that immediately reminded me of the title sequence song of the Netflix show, Stranger Things. I think the purely musical sections of this song were done very well, as it is soon accompanied by a guitar. The addition of Seyer’s vocals added a whole new element of excitement to the track. The last minute of the song is almost purely instrumental, with some soft singing repeating the line “Don’t be afraid,” referencing the previous lyrics stating “Love was bound to break.” This song was definitely one of my favorites in the album and I really enjoyed the dimension Seyer brought to the table.

Teahouse, the fifth song, begins with a jazz-like section which soon turns into a folk-type tempo with an older feeling to it. This song, personally, was one of my favorites because I tend to lean more towards this genre of music. It felt very old school and relaxed which provided a great distinction from the past technical sounds previously presented in the album.

The following song, entitled Overlove (Rehab), begins with distant footsteps soon coming into the foreground as a piano piece with obvious synth begins to play. Based on the second song in the album titled Overlove, this seems to be the sequel of the song, implying that the artist most likely found what they were looking for relating to love. This song was one of the shorter ones, maxing out at just over three minutes but it was another one of my favorites because of the personal atmosphere that is created in the beginning

Hyperfocus is the seventh song in this album. Once again, Sunset Rollercoaster keeps the theme of starting each song with a well thought out instrumental piece. This specific song seemed different to me, and I think it was because of the added drum element that was not as clear in the other songs. As the title states, Hyperfocus spotlights that idea exactly. The lyrics speak of pointing out certain things about everything around them and how they get to the finish line by being with the person they love.

The second to last song, Midnight with Paul, is a short, one minute instrumental piece much like the first song, Soft Storm. This gave me the feeling of relaxation that comes with sounds similar to what you might hear in a spa. A little more than halfway through, you hear more electronic sounding noises as opposed to the mellow piano notes. I liked how this song played into the album as a way to enforce how the album is supposed to make you feel: calm and at ease.

The members of the band, Sunset Rollercoaster, pose in a colorful room to show off their colorful personalities.

Finally, the last song titled Candlelight featuring OHHYUK, a South Korean singer, starts off with another more relaxed tone which blended from Midnight with Paul seamlessly. This song is noticeably different from the others with more hard hitting notes and it emphasized deeper aspects. This was a great song to end the album on, in my opinion, because it pulled elements from each song into one.

Overall, this new album by Sunset Rollercoaster cemented their previous sound and has added new elements to strengthen the listening experience. Each band member, especially in the production of Soft Storm, had a specific role in keeping their style the perfect mix of pop, indie, and alternative rock.

Sunset Rollercoaster’s new album, Soft Storm, is available on all streaming platforms.