Girls, don't despair, 'cause soon, I'll be there.
--Sonny & the Sunsets, "Girls Beware"
This album arrived out of the blue. I hadn't heard of Sonny & the
Sunsets before, other than as a mention from their publicist. Suc-
cessor to Tomorrow Is Alright, Hit after Hit turns out to be a
pleasant surprise--something I wish I could say more often.
Click here for "Reflections on Youth."
If I had to select one term, I would say: party record. Their
sophomore effort isn't raucous, so much as celebratory. The San
Francisco quartet, which includes Kelley Stoltz on drums, puts
their stamp on garage-rock with male-female vocals, a hint of
twang, and lacings of reverb, like a better behaved Black Lips
(Ryan Browne and Tahlia Harbour round out the line-up).
The retro cover art and colorful song titles give some idea as to
where their collective heads are at: "She Plays Yo Yo with My
Mind," "Teen Age Thugs," and "The Bad Energy from LA is Killing
Me" (if anything, it's slowly poisoning the entire West Coast).
"An unassuming, low-key gem." --Tim Sendra on Tomorrow Is Alright
After listening to Hit after Hit, I visited YouTube to check out
their earlier effort, but I prefer this release, which rocks harder,
though their basic sound remains the same. And lest they seem
like a novelty act, the quartet handily dodges that deadly bullet.
Sonny & the Sunsets incorporate humor, but they aren't set-
ting jokes to music. They may inhabit a world of girls and boys
rather than women and men, but that doesn't make them juve-
nile either; they're just keeping the spirit of the garage alive.
Click here for "Mr. Lucky," B-side to "I Wanna Do It."
A friend cited Jonathan Richman--adding but "thankfully not so
gratingly infantile"--possibly in regards to Sonny Smith's aden-
oidal drawl, and I'd agree that there's a little of that here, too.
This fine record comes recommended to fans of the Monkees,
Thee Headcoats, and Holly Golightly. If you're throwing a house
party, and you're looking for something to get the toes tapping
and the heads bobbing: meet your new favorite soundtrack.
Endnote: For more information, please click here. In reading up
on Smith, I found that he counts John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees), Tim
Cohen (Fresh & Onlys), and Shayde Sartin (Skygreen Leopards)
as friends. He's in good company, for sure (at least two of those
gents have played with him). Image from Sonny & the Sunsets.