Tense, meaty, tough, and uncompromisingly clubby in all the right ways, there are no chills in “Sun State – Michael Herrick Remix” without the presence of the song’s beat. In this remix of the Wreckless Strangers staple, we find the American indie act putting all of their energy behind the rhythm of the music, but this isn’t to say they somehow skimp on any of the melodic charms, either. For the past year, dancing has been getting another life thanks to the vibrancy of an incredible period for pop music, and in this latest release Wreckless Strangers is looking to get us back into the groove of modern life in the only way they know how.  

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Everything in this version of “Sun State” is secondary to the beat, meaning from the vocal to the bassline nothing is structured independently – it’s all rhythm-focused. That said, you would be hard-pressed to find even a spot of unnecessary filler in this piece; truth be told, it’s one of the more efficient and lean remixes I’ve had the pleasure of listening to this October. A lot of artists try to pull together what Wreckless Strangers have here, but few have the patience and attention to detail to make it happen.  

The lyrics are delivered to us with near-surgical precision, and I think it was essential to give them the mild synthetic boost they ultimately receive in front of the bass part. This vocal is startlingly melodic and definitely would be reason enough to seek out a straight acapella rendition of “Sun State” all on its own. However, even with this being the case, it too serves to benefit one key component of the song – the pulsation of the percussion, which is constantly presented not only as the lifeblood of the hook but the very foundation of every cathartic moment in the single.  

This mix features a meticulousness that I often praise when reviewing new electronic, rock, and hip-hop music specifically, but I wouldn’t say it’s the most rigidly arranged work in Wreckless Strangers’ young discography. On the contrary, this approach is a bit more relaxed than I would have initially expected, leaving a touch of an unspoken urgency on the other side of the chorus that makes any listener tense up a bit toward the conclusion of the song. It’s cerebral and rather provocative, and exactly what I expect from a group of young experimentalists rather than a veteran act in any capacity.  

If this is just a preview of what Wreckless Strangers are going to be delivering regularly through the 2020s, this era could prove to be more successful than any other in the history of the moniker. This is an interesting time to be witnessing the chaos of the underground, and if you’re as intrigued by the eclectic as I am, you’re going to be very pleased with the content popping up on the left side of the dial at the moment – “Sun State – Michael Herrick Remix” included. It’s a fine moment for Wreckless Strangers, whose pastoral sound was already a boon to my sensibilities as a critic, and a hot listen for all music buffs out there looking for something fresh. 

Garth Thomas