The NEW Sonny and the Sunsets album...the hits keep comin!
People come to San Francisco with expectations that far exceed the city's ability to deliver. The weather here, for one, betrays the California myth of sunshine year-round. It is not always sunny in California as any SF resident will tell you. But nobody told Sonny and the Sunsets on their new album, Hit After Hit, due for release next Tuesday, April 12th on Fat Possum Records. Never has a sunnier collection of songs been assembled to help deliver some much needed vitamin D into our pale-skinned and meteorologically challenged city. This is good news not only for San Franciscans but anyone who wants summer to start NOW! Hit After Hit is the follow-up to 2009's, Tomorrow Is Alright and it represents a more focused album, while losing none of the laid-back, easy charm Sonny and the Sunsets are known for. "She Plays Yo Yo With My Mind" is music made for the few sunny days we see here in SF. I imagine a girl and boy alternateingly zig-zagging their way down Valencia Street on bikes with perma-grins, wind blowing their hair back in a wordless tribute to the carefree. Sonny Smith has a seemingly effortless songwriter's touch for turning the simplest melodies, which, might sound disposable in lesser artists' hands, into something that the world needs to help sweeten our time spent here. Songs like "I Wanna Do It" and "Teenage Thugs" have a familiar quality that you can't quite place because the songs sound timeless. In fact, Sonny Smith is a man out of time. He could have just as easily been topping the charts in 1957, alongside Mikey and Slyvia, as in 1965 positioned next to the Cryan Shames on the charts, or occupying the mid-70's with Jonathan Richmond. The "Sunsets" areRyan Browne, Tahlia Harbor, and Kelley Stoltz. Stoltz, moonlighting as drummer, and Harbor contribute sweet harmonies throughout Hit After Hit, balancing Smith's tuneful story-telling. "Girls Beware" would be at home on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and "Home and Exile" will have you reaching for the surfboard you were sure you had. The production on Hit After Hit has the perfect amount of throw-back reverb and early Stax Records inspired production. "The Bad Energy From LA Is Killing Me", in addition to having a wonderful title, is the aural equivalent of the realization that someone spiked your drink with some LSD earlier in the album, AND IT'S KICKING IN! Songs that come after like "Don't Act Dumb" and "Acres of Lust" shimmer and twinkle with psychedelic glory. While this might sound like nothing more than an homage to yesteryear, it is in fact exactly the type of idiosyncratic music that seems missing in the music landscape. These are nice songs performed by nice people in a too often bad world. We all are in need of some fun in the sun. Sonny Smith just asks in album closer "Pretend To Love Me" to , "pretend to love [him], pretend to care." He makes it awful easy with Hit After Hit. Duvet says get your bikes ready, wax up those boards, and load up the picnic basket because summer begins April 12th with the release of this record.