For a few years now Richmond, Va.’s Sundials have been pop-punk’s most mischaracterized band. The band may deal in big hooks and songs that fall under the larger umbrella term of “punk,” but it’s always felt more akin to Superchunk at its most energized and rocking as opposed to its snotty, fast-paced peers. Take “Stun Spore” from the band’s new EP–and first for Topshelf Records–Kick, a song that opens with a guitar riff that bounces back and forth on the fretboard, seeing Harris Mendell distill the interplay of Mac McCaughan and Jim Wilbur into a fuzzy lead line that’s all his own. Sundials may always get called pop-punk, but it’s the kind that avoids all of the style’s tropes, making for an invigorating take on a genre that’s so often painted by numbers.
The A.V. Club is streaming all of Kick in advance of its release via Topshelf on Novemeber 4. Pre-0rders for the album are still available, and the band will make an appearance at this year’s The Fest in Gainesville, Fla., a festival that strengthens the band’s link to the modern punk scene while still sounding like a band someone would have discovered via a ’90s Merge Records mail order catalog.