Sunny California, home of a lot of things –including Sonny Smith and his band, Sonny & The Sunsets. See where this is going? The band captures a great style reminiscent of summer and delivers it time and time again. Their latest album Moods Baby Moods is a further development of their music and style.
Who knew the Sun could be so trippy. Sonny & The Sunsets is a band with a recognizably warm style –surf-inspired with poppy licks, they have a history of good tunes. Moods Baby Moods really indulges in the psychedelia however, each song sprinkles on a little more something special. The end result is like a cross between Beck, Mac, and the year 1972 –it’s hard not to like.
From midpoint to finish Moods Baby Moods is exactly what you want for aimless summer days. That is to admit that the first track or two is underwhelming but after that it gets extremely interesting. Grinding past the first few minutes is difficult. It feels generic and any attempt at adding variety to the repertoire of voices comes off as gimmicky. But Sonny & The Sunsets’ Vitamin D infused tunes will get into your heart. They’re catchy by nature and just plain tasty by trade. Moods Baby Moods features some interesting choruses, synth-laden melodies, and the occasional hint of a tough but sweet bass line –a pretty great way to indulge.
The album really gets going around the third track, “Modern Age.” It starts with some goofy percussive hits and some very groovy bass. The vocals pull the song along throughout until it slowly pieces together. Slip into track five, “Nightmares,” and you’ll be sucked. Again the bass and vocals take on some weight but it just builds from there. The guitar adds great texture and it’s amazing how effective the bass is. It all sucks you in and takes you on a relaxed but goofy trip.
Towards the end, “Check Out,” seals the deal. Sonny & The Sunsets capitalizes on it all. The song is chilled out at points, it sounds like a drag just to sing. From there, it builds. Rhythm keeps it moving while the guitar serenades you. The little riffs go a long, long way. When the chorus comes, it’s more poppy –in some ways accessible, but still grand. In many ways, this explains the entirety of the album.
Moods Baby Moods has a predictable side to it, but it’s also fresh. More importantly, it’s the continuation of an ongoing project and a clear development. Comparing Sonny’s earlier works to this is a bit of an experience, there’s a clear line of progression. Moods Baby Moods is a tribute to musicianship.
At the end of the day, Moods Baby Moods is good, baby, good! It’s the mix of Sonny’s typical sunny style cut with psychedelically placed electronic goofiness and a bass guitar that is out to win your heart. If you’re a long time Sonny & The Sunsets fan, it’s actually mandatory you listen to Moods Baby Moods –you’ll be disappointed if you don’t. For the rest of the world, the album risks being an inbetweener. It’s pretty good but takes a while to build up –momentum is everything. Perspective is everything, but by all means, Moods Baby Moods is at least a little bit enjoyable.