Potholes readers, recently you have come across many high scores in our review section. This isn’t due to us being on our fanboy shit with new/on-the-verge artists or some kind digital age pay for mics press with smaller labels. It’s simply due to the fact that contemporary non-mainstream music across genres has really been on its Avengers swag…(maybe Take Shelter is the better comparison). Just know that Sonnymoon’s self-titled full length is the Black Widow to R.A.P. Music’s Iron Man; okay I’ll let that analogy rest for now. The album is full of galactic grooves, fuzzy synths, warm low ends, cybernetic sea nymph harmonies, and a youthful spirit that effortlessly plays from beginning to end. The cool jazz, the fragments of IDM, the sweetness of pop, and the hybridity of rap gel and form Sonnymoon’s sound like the locks of a multi-racial dime piece in some undies.
The opening track “Wild Rumpus” sounds like the aborigine-electro soundtrack to Where the Wild Things Are. After a reserved beginning Dane’s clatterings of a manipulated nature and synthetic sounds take over the song as Anna’s sultry vocals glide over the tracks. The euphoric “Greatness” follows with its equal parts Florence & The Machine and Black Moon to swoon and nod to. Later, the cocky Nightrider drone of “Flit, Fleet, Float” feels like smoking a Newport in a rag top with your peddle to the floor on a coastal highway. Yet the album easily expresses other tones and textures. The quieter “Kali” transports one into a dark smoke-filled lounge where Anna’s booming vocals carry the broken jazz arrangement. The moody “Nothing Thought” builds with a morose bass line that sits under an assortment of sounds that gently seem to be falling from the ceiling, only to swiftly change into a calm funky romp before song’s end.
The quality of Sonnymoon’s music really is inspiring: sounds build, shape, form and then transform within single songs throughout the album. It comes across as though more than 12 songs are contained within the 50 minutes of music. The way Anna’s vocals dip within, glide over and surround the miasma of Dane’s production style sounds like turn of the century Timbo linked up with Sade. Yes, terminology like experimental and progressive could be used to describe the music, but it’s also very rooted in standard pop forms that make it easily digestible and relatable. More than what the music is about is how it feels and fills the spirit of a music fan. There are missteps like the tepid “Universal Appeal” and the out of place “Others by”, but overall this is one of the year’s strongest long players. Open your blinds, let the sun in, sip on some jack-n-coke, hold your lover (or other) by the waist, throw this record on, and move to the groove.