The Sunny Era: Gone Missing Review
When locals The Sunny Era’s debut record The Darkness of Love came out last year I noted that the band seemed to have borrowed liberally from similar-sounding band DeVotchKa’s songbook. Now with the group’s follow up, Gone Missing, they seem to have moved further away from that comparison. While they do still sound quite a bit like DeVotchKa, they now do so more in a stylistic sense, which is to say they their songs sound more original. In thirteen new tracks the Minneapolitan trio have crafted some unique and occasionally beautiful compositions.
Gone Missing’s high and low points seem to occur along the same lines with how closely the band’s indie rock and gypsy folk influences converge. For instance “A World of Chance” relies heavily on repetitive guitar chords and a fairly lackluster drum rhythm that keep the tune from taking flight. Similarly in “End of Time” and “Crossed Roads and Twisted Branches,” while the band explores some interesting violin and accordion work respectively, both tunes seem hampered by uninspired and artificial sounding beats that sound like they come straight out of a drum machine. The sense of repetitiousness doesn’t seem in keeping with the chaotic spirit that generally guides Roma music. The most successful Indie/Gypsy hybrids have managed to take that spirit and channel it, not only into the Eastern influenced instrumentation/vocals, but their guitar/drum oriented Western counterparts as well.
In a rock and roll regard, where Gone Missing does succeed the most is in the pretty lullaby of “Lose You” that builds into a fantastic guitar-steered climax. Clarinet-led jam “Odessa” works as well, as do violin opus “Flickering Lights,” “Devil To Pay,” and “Cyrus and Cassadane,” due to the non-static nature of their various instrumentations. Where the violin/guitar/tabla/vocal/clarinet interplay comes across as the most organic is where Gone Missing generally finds the most success following the gypsy/pop tradition. Several other tracks come close as well – epic album opener “Broken” could have soared a bit more with more interesting guitar and drum parts, as could have “Schedrivka.” Overall though The Sunny Era have progressed quite a bit beyond their debut, and continue to show even more promise.
— Jon Behm
Order a copy of Gone Missing here
The Sunny Era: Site