The Sunshine Fix
Age of The Sun
The debut album by The Sunshine Fix, Age of the Sun, is billed as “superior psychedelic pop.”
This apparently means that songwriter Bill Doss, also of Olivia Tremor Control, is creating something between catchy pop tunes and continuous, trippy background music. As the disc shifts from upbeat cheeriness to Radiohead pessimism, each track blends into the next. Doss isn’t singing us distinct songs; he’s assembling a musical collage while keeping emotional distance from each track. The effect is intriguing, but the dreamy quality of the album belies its sunny theme.
Most tracks emerge from a churning undercurrent of buzzing guitars and shifting rhythms, but few develop into memorable, fully structured songs. “See Yourself” is the rare example that could stand alone as a radio-worthy single—guitars whine into action over a tactile bass line, and the plaintive pop vocals provide a memorable hook. “That Ole Sun” spins hokey lyrics into a mid-tempo tune that would have been at home with tambourine accompaniment back in the Summer of Love. “Hide in the Light” follows this retro motif, a contrast of classic sound and cynical modern sensibility.
Age of the Sun boasts various musical influences. At their best, the band recalls the later Beatles, with cooing backup vocals and songs about sunshine. But this similarity is fleeting as The Sunshine Fix goes deeper into its own brand of psychedelia. This band doesn’t rock or roll, and lacks bite despite a toy-box full of effects. Still, the trip through Doss’ imagination is a curious one.
––Benjamin D. Margo
Strategies Against Architecture III: 1991-2001
In their heyday, Einstürzende Neubauten (whose name translates literally to “collapsing new buildings”) were amongst the pioneers of industrial music. Their sound was a chaotic brew of growled vocals, droning noise and their trademark: loud, clanging percussion made by banging power tools against metal (among other techniques). Twenty years later, the scene is but a faint memory and the band’s lineup has been halved, but their experiments in rhythm and texture continue.