Sonny and The Sunsets: Tomorrow is Alright Review

91/100

San Franciscan songwriter Sonny Smith seems like one of those guys who just kind of hums his way through life – just chillin’ and not making a big fuss.  His track “Planet of Women” from last year’s Tomorrow is Alright LP probably paints the picture best: in it Smith narrates the story of becoming enslaved on a planet of women with all of the pathos of the Big Labowski’s “The Dude.”  It was just, like, a total bummer, man.

Sonny’s recent record shares another similarity with the Coen Brother’s film as well: it is an understated slacker masterpiece that has inspired a strong cult following.  Recording under the name Sunny and the Sunsets, Smith has produced the quintessential sunkissed psychedelic rock/folk record.  At times poignant, and often hilarious, Tomorrow floats by on a seabreeze with the 60’s pop influenced guitar chords and mellow call and response vocal parts between Smith and his band.  It’s the kind of music that is made to be listened to on a sunny beach.  It’s that beach where the cool kids hang out though – not down the way where the squares are listening to Jack Johnson.

For such an affable approach to the music, Smith’s lyricism has a surprising amount of melancholy and dissatisfaction.  Tracks like “Too Young to Burn” and “Stranded” contain the albums heavier stuff – meditations on the passage of life and times.  While Smith may come off as a lackadaisical hippie – he is kind of a sad one too.  A hippie who as seen a few years and a few hardships.  Still, to keep the vibe from ever getting too harshed there is also freewheeling tracks like “Lovin’ on an Older Gal,” which depicts the benefits of sex with an older woman.  And the aforementioned “Planet of Women” is priceless.

Though Tomorrow has already been out for a number of months – it still hasn’t crossed a lot of radars which is kind of a shame.   Still, it makes the perfect soundtrack to the burgeoning Summer season – so I wouldn’t be surprised if it got a wider audience soon.  As far as Smith goes though – audience or no I doubt he would be too concerned.  I have the feeling that regardless of where it takes him, Smith will still be chilling out with his guitar and some friends – watchin’ the world go by and singing about it.  The dude abides.

— Jon Behm

      1. Sonny & the Sunsets - Too Young to Burn

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1 Response

  1. Adam Bubolz says:

    Glad to see you liked this Jon, this was one of my favorite releases of last year. “Too Young To Burn” made it to every mix I made for months as well.

    Also worth noting that Soft Abuse is a Minneapolis label that puts out a lot of awesome records worth checking out.

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