The Great Unknown

The Great Unknown from Favored Nations is a 17-track epic amalgam of sunlit pop, as varied and vast as the Information Age in which it was built.It is music of a hue that brings to mind the entire spectrum of solar-powered, complex pop that emerged in the 1960s with the Beach Boys and has dappled the best and brightest music in every decade since. See also: Steely Dan, Alan Parsons, West Coast hip-hop, maybe even disco.

"This is dedicated to eternity," Phalen pronounces at that outset of single "Always," before wading out into the swell of the song's slippery, genre-defying mélange of groove and melody that rejects immobility. In other words, you will move to it.

How do you even begin to connect the dots from a track like "The Magic Man"—which opens with a passage of symphonic strings that would happily fill an opera house to its rafters—with "Regular Pussy," a song that turns a brash, hip-hop inspired sexual brag into a tender love song, featuring falsetto and harmonies, all running along the glittering groundwork set by Curd's analog keyboard accents? "The Setup" is a recent chart hit after its inclusion to the soundtrack to the video game Grand Theft Auto V. "The Blame Game" builds out from the same architecture that makes "Always" so immediately engaging, yet this time does it with acoustic guitar flourishes.

By the time you've navigated the wonderful maze of The Great Unknown and reached album closer "22 West", you have come full circle, back into the sunlight. The handclaps and harmonies, the tidal pull of waves and sand—you are left with the sudden urge to dive right back in. Getting caught up in the infinite variations of rhythm and melody that Favored Nations have delivered directly to your shore, lapping like a wave at this land we all inhabit, it's not worth the effort of resistance. Just go with it.

"It's so interesting because you never know what's going to happen," says Curd, as he ponders the approaching release of the band's debut. "We have this idea that it feels so sun-splashed and Californian, but maybe Berlin will be into it!"

A global band for global times, there is something here for everyone, landlocked or otherwise. The sun will rise everywhere eventually. Let The Great Unknown fill you with its light.