Out of all the bands that have created genuinely innocent sounding pop music the past couple years, there have remained a select few that have captured my attention and held it. This music is heavily reminiscent of 50’s and early 60’s era pop music that sounded precocious and naive while combining infectiously catchy songs that begged the need to be heard more than once. I could start with Of Montreal, a band that could have perfected the art better than anyone else. Then I could move through a slew of bands like: Girls, She & Him, Grizzly Bear, Deerhunter (sometimes), Harlem, Dum Dum Girls, and others. The retro-active do-wop-ness of these bands and their music, to me, has yet to be exhausted.
Sonny & The Sunsets is one of those bands. The band is built with members of similar sounding acts; The Oh Sees, Citay, and The Fresh & Onlys. This mixture combines to create a volatile mix of sunshine pop music that literally sounds like it could have been pulled out of a time capsule. Unlike their separate components, Sonny & The Sunsets are somewhat stripped down, with less reverb. While the production is still considered lo-fi, the music is recorded right, leaving crisp and clear pop songs as a result. As mentioned by Chris Rambo in his review of White Fence’s new album: the Woodsist label along with others have developed a knack for producing abrasive sounding music that detracts from the quality of the song writing. I agree with this statement and believe that the new Sonny & The Sunsets album Tomorrow is Alright, is a step forward in the right direction, satisfyingly appealing and accessible.
The first song, “Too Young to Burn,” is a perfect representation of what the album has in store. “Death Cream,” and “Strange Love” continue to prove their pop sensibilities. There is no other way to describe these songs than little perfect slices of pop sunshine. The innocent tide shifts with the fourth song, “Planet of Women.” A conversation ensues between a spaceman and a woman on a planet of women.
“The two-headed lady said I couldn’t land my ship.” I said, “It would only take a minute.”
“Well,” she said, “what’s in it?”
“Aw I don’t know, just some weird shit.”
“La la la la.”
The song precedes to tell the story of a spaceman who lands on a planet of women, where men are slaves. A concept reminiscent of a Futurama episode, with the same humor attached. The album has a humorous feel that is present throughout, but track like; “Planet of Women,” and the closer “Lovin’ on an Older Gal,” are more forceful with their raillery. The care-free vibe of this album is what makes it so appealing. The country tinged feel of “Stranded,” plods through the heaviness of a scorchingly hot summer day, while one of my favorite tracks, “Chapters,” is the most upbeat song on the album, filled with backing vocals that recall “Comfy In Nautica,” by Panda Bear.
Tomorrow is Alright, by Sonny & The Sunsets, is an excellent album packed with great lo-fi pop songs done right. It will not let you down. Give it a listen.