Never has an album been so completely controlled by a single influence as Sunkissed has. It’s something we all see every day, it influences all of us and we worship it. It’s ‘That big yellow ball up in the sky’, the sun.
Sunkissed transports you from your miserable flat in Coventry to Bad Weather California‘s beach-side skatepark whilst you get high together, and drink gallons of orange juice with that big ball of fire blazing down on you.
You’re welcomed to your vacation on a raft of African guitars and calypso beats with ‘I’ll Reach Out My Hand’. It’s a joyous example of the Afro-Caribbean’s seamless blending with the West Coast’s beach-punk sensibilities and captures the summer sun vibe perfectly in four too-short minutes.
Shifting scene to a late night beach bonfire ‘Stand In My Sunshine’ invokes 60’s mellow rock complete with lazy slurred guitar riffs and Chris Adolf’s drawling Americana vocals oozing effortless cool. ‘When You Smile’ stands the band shoulder to shoulder with their modern peers The Smith Westerns and comes very close to beating them at their own Glam Rock game. With lines as timeless as “I like the shape of your lips / I like the shake in your hips” Adolf invokes the spirit of Marc Bolan in all his aural sensual glory. Send Bad Weather California back 40 years with these last two tracks and they’d be being quoted by 2011-12’s new bands as demi-gods.
We now take an intermission with a palette cleanser in the form of ‘Big Yellow Ball’ as the band do their own sun dance to their great inspiration. Followed closely by just over a minute of good ‘ol fashioned LA Punk. ‘Skate Or Try’ does well to pay homage to the bands musical great influences but ‘Freaks and Geeks’ feels like it should have been used as the end of its precursor, and on its own is a bit of a mess.
What wasn’t expected was the apparent shift to a funk guitar, hand-clap, hip-swaying number that is ‘Let It Shine’ with call and response breakdown leading into a 60’s rock n’ roll solo and swing drum cacophony. ‘I Feel Like Dancing’ channels White Denim’s garage-experimental style near perfectly and it becomes clear that Bad Weather California can turn their hands to pretty much any rock variation and nail it.
’I’ll Sing Along’ serves as the token slow track borrowing a little Lou Reed to sprinkle some charisma on the track. You really never know what’s going to hit you next on this album and when the ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ style bass and drum intro kicks in complete with saxophone it’s a more than welcome surprise, settling down into a toe-tapping glam track so 70’s it’ll make your parents teary eyed and nostalgic.
Sunkissed borrows from a lot of artists to become what it is, but the best tracks are Bad Weather California’s own. The fine line between paying tribute and stealing styles is blurred drastically but they’ll get the benefit of the doubt in this case as what they have created is a blinding album that accomplishes just what it set out to do. And that is to make you feel like you’re with them, on that sun drenched beach, being filmed on a super8mm camera skating and generally being young and free
via The 405