Review of Sunny Day Sets Fire's debut album 'Summer Palace'.
I like a band who you know where you are with by their name. Afro Booties? RnB right? Death Stalks Us? Wheezy Norwegians with lashings of corpse paint. Sunny Day Sets Fire sound like they could be twee-er than an old pencil case full of hair slides, but instead of carbon dating some of Belle and Sebastian's early work, the London based quintet have got themselves a case of West Coast surf pop. And on the evidence of Summer Palace, they've got it bad.
They're not exactly the only game in this particular town, but let's face it The Little Ones' Morning Tide was more than a little underwhelming, so perhaps lashings of dream pop harmonies arriving just in time for spring isn't such a bad thing after all.
In fact, Summer Palace is one great big mass of la la la's, plinking xylophones, twirly guitar stuff and almost non existent rhythm sections. Even when it starts a little badass - as on single Adrenaline - twenty seconds in we're knee deep in seventies AOR bridges and middle eights. But mostly, as on the opening salvo of Stranger and Wilderness they're a bit Magic Numbers, a little more Crosby Stills & Nash. And so it goes on. There's some relief from the cloying niceness on gentle merseybeat homage End of The Road, but we're talking shades here.
Perhaps this is the right moment for music to lift us up, to help us escape from credit crunches and unemployment and war and global warming and everything else we see on the news. Sunny Day Sets Fire certainly seem to believe so, and for a while their fantasy has it's charms. But sooner or later we all have to return from Wonderland.
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