Review of Sunshine Pops Album by The Superimposers

From Bournemouth to Brixton, from Wichita, via LA, to Wonderful Sound Records. Combining a Joke Shop Manager (He was a manager of a joke shop not a....)/Car Mechanic/Fish Monger with an Avant Garde Art Student and American-Lebanese-American Indian/American Irish multi-instrumentalist of Ping Pong Orchestra fame sounds like a riot. The trio of Superimposers, Dan Solo (No relation to Hans), Miles Copeland and Shawn Lee, respectively, have combined creatively to produce their third full length album. Following 2005's Long Player and 2008's Harpsichord Treacle, Sunshine Pops builds on the bands mantra to "To make pop records.......for a big market."

The proverbial ball seems at last to be on a roll. The Guardians 'New Band Of The Day' No: 793 back in late May and now, late June, accoladed 'Record Of The Week', for The Beach, on BBC Radio 2's Radcliffe & Maconie Show, point to a timely build up of anticipation before the Independence Day launch party for their new album. (If you're near the correct 3 Kings Public House, London, on the 4th July pop in and don't be surprised to see Austin Powers propping up the bar!)

The Superimposers Sunshine Pops Album

With a sound that wouldn't be out of place in a Michael Caine film of the late sixties, Alfie or The Italian Job would fit nicely, The Superimposers are still recalling an era of classic pop full of melody and innocence. Combine the vocal delivery of the Kinks, the obscurity of The Seeds or The Electric Prunes with some latter day touches used effectively by the likes of The Inspiral Carpets or The Coral and you are getting somewhere close to the sound conjured up by The Superimposers. Add in Beach Boys harmonies, and even some of their references, to summer sun and beach life and then give it a polished and airy production and you get 'Sunshine Pops'.

The Omnichord and Sea Organ, played by Dan and Miles, have you day dreaming of girls dancing with flowers in their hair, sun and surf, heady summer days of clear blue skies, camper vans, open top Beetles and general bare foot abandon. The opener, 'Where Do You Go?', along with 'Seeing Is Believing', skip along with a simple but effective beat, you can almost picture the boys besuited in matching dapper drainpipes sporting coiffured mop tops appearing on Ready Steady Go. Shuffling to a modestly choreographed dance movement and with a cheeky smile to boot, the girls will be screaming as the car leaves the studio, in fact if Tom Hanks ever considers a rather more British sequel to 'That Thing You Do' he could give the boys a bell.

'Little Miss Valentine' drifts pleasantly along, you can imagine dinner suits in convertibles heading along cliff top winding roads to marina bars for cocktails. The silk scarf flaps excitedly in the wind as the cigarettes are lit and the scene is set for the girls heart to be won over and almost as quickly broken. Martini anyone?

The textured harmonies, gentle melodies, infectious rhythms and uncomplicated lyrics of the Beach have no doubt captured the imaginations of Messrs Radcliffe and Maconie..................

"Stars are coming out,
Lighting up the ground,
Catch them if you can,
Hold them in your hand.
Sailing through the Sun,
Each and everyone,
Now we're out of reach,
Stranded on the beach."

Making it appear easy to recreate a long since past sound is what The Superimposers are all about. Nothing sounds out of place, complicated or contrived. The sound they have arrived at is a throwback but not in a cringe worthy way. The tunes are catchy, well written pieces of pop, time travelling vignettes if you will. Rarely are you reminded that this is an album from 2010. Some of the instrumentation may take a slightly different angle to the original inspiration and the more obvious use of drum machines et al on 'Tumbledown' and 'Four Leaf Clover' gives the game up but ostensibly this is a slice of sixties California with a very English sensibility.

If Mumford And Sons can recreate a folk sound to make it relevant to a brand new audience, then why not The Superimposers with their take on harmony driven 60's pop? In the end the general public will cast their vote and decide. For me the 9 tracks are a little too light and they lack an edge. When heard together without interjections they can sound a little twee and begin to become slightly irksome. However, if heard between Dappy and GaGa they may come as some much needed old fashioned quality pop relief!

Andrew Lockwood.

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