Sonny & The Sunsets have recorded one of the most fun albums I’ve heard of the year, as they mold together music that sounds like everything form bubblegum pop to weird late 60’s electronic pop to novelty music, garage rock with farfisas and trippy organs, to something left of the left of center that it’s right in the middle, the core of what you want to hear in life. Antenna To The Afterworld (Polyvinyl) may be a title that represents the best music we hope to hear when we’re dead, and that is, if there is such a thing as an afterworld. Since we all become carbon, the afterlife is just an Earth-bound dream so we are forced to enjoy this existence as best as possible, and we get to do it with help from Sonny & The Sunsets.
There’s a lot I like about this album, from the tape hiss and sound of the studio during the quiet moments of “Void”, to how the mixing in “Death Scene” is panned almost to to the extreme as if the guys behind the Somerset and Alshire labels, or 101 Strings, decided to have a go-go party and eat hallucinogenic mushrooms in their grilled acid-tinged cheese sandwiches. Half of the songs on here sound like the kind of music you’d find on thrift store records that are so wrong that they’re right, attempts that trying to be hip failing, but being recreated in 2013 because anything can be (and is) good. Then there are songs like “Palmreader” that sound like they are rooted in Athens, Georgia with that Rickenbacher-ish guitar, but the lyrics are either too quirky to believe or it comes off like those lyrics people used to send to Nashville in the hopes of making their own music and seeing it on vinyl:
on my hand, there’s a scar
from the time… oh nevermind
in my love line is hard to see
but it’s still there underneath
in my life line is fucked up too
it’s covered in scabs and glue
it seems like it’s split, split into two
one goes there, one stays here
one stays here with you
I’m wondering if I’m meant to hear it this way, or if it’s just music meant to be heard and played for fun, a band not taking themselves too seriously but having a blast doing it anywhere? Antenna To The Afterworld is an album meant to be discovered in a cardboard cover with the words “Rachel, Dandelion Flower Club 1979” handwritten on the back. It sounds like lost music that has rightfully been found again, or perhaps this is just good music without a timeline that will pop up at the most opportune times.