Bay Area songwriter Justin Cheromiah has been recording under the High Sunn moniker since he was 14 years old. You can make a case for watching any artist grow up over the course of their career, but it’s rare that you can apply that to such formative years as you can with Cheromiah. Now 18 years old, has more than 30 self-recorded and self-released titles to his name on Bandcamp. That’s prolific at any age. Even his earliest recordings, though admittedly rough and lo-fi, you can feel vivacious pop-punk energy wrestling in the swaths of noise. Each release has built on the last and now we’re seeing his most realized musical self yet with Missed Connections, out tomorrow on PNKSLM Records.
Missed Connections sounds like what it feels like the have a summer crush, with all of its rewards and follies. It’s music to put on while you skateboard down the street to the convenience store to refuel for another day of brooding about the one who got away (or better, the one you never had the courage to approach). His guitars glisten and shriek, capturing the wrestling feeling knotted in his gut. There’s hints of Blink-182’s Tom Delonge in his vocal inflections – that’s a compliment, by the way – as he tosses out the words like late night diary poetry. What’s remarkable is that not only does Cheromiah utilize the romantic volatility of his youth, he’s also able to structure it into an album that feels mature and fully realized like the seasoned veteran he is (sure he’s only 18, but anyone who puts out 30 albums is a veteran in my book. That’s almost a third of Robert Pollard’s discography!). Every song moves into the next with the perfect balance of precision and nonchalance.
"Missed Connections is my first studio full length that was created in a span of a year,” Cheromiah tells KEXP. “It features a lot of ideas and lost songs that never made it on my past releases. A majority of the songs deal with stories about an inanimate figure that I attach myself to and sing about."
To be able to sing about your doubts, worries, fuck-ups, hopes, and dreams in such a direct way is just further proof of Cheromiah’s maturity as a songwriter. If he’s making records like this at 18, where will he be at 28? 38? 88? Who knows. But for now, he’s given us the perfect summer soundtrack to celebrate and mourn our crushes with shoutable choruses and righteous riffs that can put all of us back in our teenage emotions, regardless of age.
Stream the album in full below.
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