Review: Sonny & the Sunsets – Antenna to the Afterworld
Sonny and the Sunsets – Antenna to the Afterworld (Polyvinyl, 2013)
“I walk on these streets and these streets they walk on me,” sings Sonny and the Sunsets frontman Sonny Smith on the opening track of his latest effort, Antenna to the Afterworld.
Smith has crafted a beautiful album, that sounds from start to finish like something made in San Francisco; the slightly out of tune jangle of “Dark Corners” manages to somehow capture the sound of the feeling of fog while the spaced-out, garage boy-girl poetry of “Green Blood” evokes a sense of affable Jonathan Richman weirdness, that could hardly come from anywhere else.
Much has been written on Smith’s “chameleon-like” musical persona; how he moves from genre to genre on each release. I don’t buy into that – I think Smith essentially does the same thing (extremely well) on each release – no matter how it is stylistically dressed up (as country, as faux-doo wop, etc), the real meat of what Smith is accomplishing is a sort of sweet-feeling interpretation of classic west-coast pop. Smith accomplishes this almost unfailingly and with a notable lack of pretension on all of his releases, and no less so on this latest foray.
Also, as a side note, I’d like to give props to bassist Nicholas Aives. His performance on this record is spot-on.
For fans of Girls, Jonathan Richman, Papercuts