The Love you withhold is the pain you carry expresses Sunnsetter’s ever-active creativity and humanity’s natural need for real connections.
It’s unfair and disingenuous to consider the title track of Sunnsetter’s latest release a “sprawling” song. In spite of it being the album’s longest track (coming in at over twice the length of a traditional pop song), “The love you withhold is the pain you carry” is multi-instrumentalist Andrew McLeod’s most considered and concise composition yet. Far from being lost in Sunnsetter’s swirling ambience and angular post-rock style, the song, like the whole of The love you withhold is the pain you carry, is loaded with meaning — both from personal experiences and universal truths.
With extraordinary frankness and vulnerability, McLeod has never shied away from the artistic expression of his personal journey through music. Like Sunnsetter’s 2018 full-length worrybody, The love you withhold is the pain you carry is a deeply intimate document. He says the album “represents a shift in my overall demeanour in the last few years, and especially once I finally quit drinking altogether.” It’s a mindset that’s reflected in the album’s song titles: “Times are changing”, “The things that I wish for will never change”, “Always growing, to the end ( and it continues )”. Beyond the titles, these new Sunnsetter songs articulate a shift in McLeod’s artistic mindset as well. On many tracks, like the swelling ebb and flow of “Sauble”, ambient tones and textures unfold and begin assuming form. Melodies accumulate note by note (“Everyday’s the same”), like individual atoms becoming molecules, eventually gaining energy and radiating out to reveal McLeod’s innate musicality and compositional style.
The love you withhold is the pain you carry is both a personal reckoning and professional unburdening, a culmination of Sunnsetter’s ever-active creativity and desire to express humanity’s natural need for real conversations and relationships in our ever-growing artificial social circles. It’s one thing to understand the idea that we all have a finite emotional capacity, whether it’s pain and hatred or happiness and pleasure. It’s another to accept that we are each responsible for how much space we let each of these emotions take up in our lives. The love you withhold is the pain you carry is the sound of Sunnsetter discovering the benefits we all reap in making a little more room for the latter than the former in our lives.