Tuesday, March 3, 2015

REVIEW: Sonny and the Sunsets - Talent Night at the Ashram

Talent Night at the Ashram works on so many levels for me.  As always with Sonny and the Sunsets, Sonny Smith's observations about his life, real or imagined, or the life he witnesses, real or embellished, are both interesting and interestingly stated.  The guitars always sound great.  And the overall tone of the songs have the right dose of ramshackle, adding texture to the well-formed core of the tune.  That the ideas are so vividly fleshed out isn't surprising when you learn that the original concept was a feature length film, which then morphed into an album.  So you can close your eyes and think of yourself as listening to someone singing you the screenplays for a series of televised short stories.  Although filming the dog swimming in the narrator's beer might have been a director's challenge.

Some albums are conventional thematically, but psychedelic in tone.  Talent Night at the Ashram is mostly '60s inflected indie rock in tone, but more than a little psychedelic and just plain off the wall thematically.  And in all honesty, the execution suggests that Sonny's way is the best way to do it.  He is one of the more inventively entertaining artists on the scene, and this album shows that his star is continuing to rise.  This album is highly recommended.

Talent Night at the Ashram is out now on Polyvinyl Records.  For this outing Sonny and the Sunsets is Sonny Smith, Shayde Sartin, Ian McBrayer, Garret Goddard, Kelley Stoltz, Rusty Miller, and probably a few others.

Bandcamp for the album
Polyvinyl Records

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