As AV Super Sunshine so boldly admits in his new single “Sink or Swim,” there comes a time in every great artist’s life where reinvention makes a lot of sense, and while he isn’t necessarily making a complete departure from his trademark sound in this song, he’s absolutely softened some of his rougher edges. He’s more mature with the way he creates a narrative, utilizing the duality of a harmony as much as he does a simple rhyme to make us understand what he’s got on his mind. Although “Sink or Swim” has an undisputedly darker tone than some of the content he released just a couple of years ago, it comes from an artist who sounds more connected with his goals than ever before.


The hook is rather strong here, but it puts a giant exclamation point on the titular verse AV is singing to us. You can tell just from the tone of his voice that he means every word he’s saying in “Sink or Swim,” and he isn’t leaning on the bravado of the backing band to make his point for him. There’s something really provocative about a player who can put this much personality into their delivery alone, and I think that in the case of this particular artist, so much of what his identity is made of can be found in the bones of his music. This is as representative of him as anything else he’s ever composed, if not more so because of the emphatic proclamations he’s making.

In his dance remix of “Sink or Swim,” AV Super Sunshine’s voice is less accessible in the harmony than the punchy drive of the synthesizers is, but this seems entirely deliberate on the part of our star. While I don’t think the bass needed to have as much weight as it does in this instance, it gives the vocal that much more of a buffer – alluding to a mystique and outward reticence that just isn’t as audible in the standard single. When a composition is as multilayered as this is, having a couple of different mixes can shed light on the depth of artistry at hand, which should be exciting for the devoted fans that follow this man.

It isn’t true of all the big-name players in the underground today, but AV Super Sunshine earns his buzz whenever he drops a fresh track, and I don’t see him starting to recycle anything even at this stage of the game. He’s come a long way in a short time and managed to develop a solid audience that embraces his most left-field offerings with open arms, and although this is a different direction for his style in general, I think it’s going to be something that both his regular listeners and those who just dig indie rock overall should be able to get behind in one capacity or another. “Sink or Swim,” despite its title, showcases an artist very much performing at his peak ability right now.

Garth Thomas