The Sunchymes “Let Your Free Flag Fly”
After a good debut LP, Aaron Hemmington has fulfilled his promise of making The Sunchymes album that marries the Wondermints/Curt Boettcher like arrangements to hook filled melodies. The intricate techniques of 60’s sunshine pop are on full display with “Revelations In Her Mind” and the solid hook in “Aquarius Summer” make it sweet ear candy. Most of the album fits stylistically within the genre of British psyche pop and 60’s California sound.
The west coast sounds on “Enchanted Girl” are kissed with harmonies along the lines of Cowsills or the Zombies. Then “Astronomical Clock” mixes Brian Wilson Pet Sounds with a swirling psychedelic mellotron. This playful ambience is also a big part of “Uncle Alfred’s Slide Show.” Fans of Magical Mystery Tour era Beatles will love “Your Disguise” and Beach Boys fans will enjoy “On A Summer Ride.” Most every track here impresses, and my next suggestion would be to expand his harmonious range, but this is pretty incredible and one of the year’s best retro flavored albums.
Howl Griff “Fragile Diamond”
It’s tough to neatly fit Howl Griff in one genre. The music is a combination of new wave guitar, psychedelic mellotron and classic rock rhythms – with multi-part harmony in English or Welsh. Similar to Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci they have a sound that catches up to you after a few listens. The casual strums and vocals of “Fragile Diamond” is a wonderful sing along and the wicked bassline of “Sharkfins in The Sky” make it another winner.
On occasion a song will overstay its welcome (“You Don’t Have To Leave On Your Own”) but you also have flashes of absolute brilliance, like the epic pop story of “Puppet Operation Time” and the spacey “‘FÜßßBÜKKËR.” You’ll hear the echos of The Kinks on “Runaround” and “She Walks On By The Flame,” and this band is more than the sum of its influences. It’s got what few bands have, a genuine competence in a variety of styles. Bravo.