Album review: Sonny & The Sunsets, “Moods Baby Moods”

by Jon E. Lynch

Sonny & The Sunsets, “Moods Baby Moods”

Available: May 27 via Polyvinyl Records as a download, CD, 180 gram orange vinyl LP and (while supplies last/limited edition) picture disc LPs.

Sonny Smith is, presumably, a very busy man. The multitalented multimedia artist and playwright behind Sonny & The Sunsets has more than a few projects going at any given time. Sonny and company are based out of the artistically-fertile-as-ever San Francisco/Bay Area, and are set to release “Moods Baby Moods,” their sixth album under this particular moniker and fourth for Champaign-Urbana, Illinois-based record label Polyvinyl (Deerhoof, Japandroids, Beach Slang, of Montreal, La Sera, STRFKR).

I’ve grown accustomed to musical shifts and surprises with each Sunsets record. There are certain stylistic choices, tones and production decisions (lower fidelity maybe?) that make Sunset albums uniquely their own. I’d argue that Sonny has polished and honed the tricky nuance of continuity with little-to-no continuity. His constant is no straightforward sound or constant, and surrounding himself with a rotating, high-caliber cast of supporting players. Smith is joined by Shayde Sartin (The Fresh & Onlys, Kelley Stoltz, Ty Segall, Wooden Wand) and Merrill Garbus (tUnE-yArDs) and the result is an indie/experimental-leaning rock album with elements of post-disco, no wave and hints of synth-sprinkled post-punk. All of this works so well together, making “Moods” arguably the best Sunsets album to date, which, given the extensive and varied catalog, is no small feat.

For fans of Mac DeMarco, The Unicorns, Jonathan Richman/Modern Lovers, John Waters or Mystery Science Theater 3000

— Jon E. Lynch[email protected]

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