Multi-national indie pop troupe Sunny Day Sets Fire clearly have immense musicianship and a diverse set of influences, yet against the odds they manage to blend each element seamlessly and refrain from allowing any individual to overshadow the whole.
On Summer Palace, the band expand on the kaleidoscopic sounds of their first EPs, balancing out the delicate side of their muse with a brace of spikier moments. It is to their credit that they can effectively deliver short bursts of pop perfection (‘Wilderness’, ‘Adrenaline’) and also stretch out over the six minute mark without losing focus, as on the gutsy ‘Smallest Heart On Earth’ and closer ‘Lack Of View’.
The combined talents of dual singers Mauro and Onyee, each with extraordinary, distinctive voices, carry the listener through every nuanced moment with more than a touch of the ethereal. Comparisons could justifiably be made to The Flaming Lips, Blonde Redhead, The Apples In Stereo, even early Mew, but these songs transcend any overt referencing.
In spite of an obvious fondness for Elephant 6-style jangle pop, the band manage to crystallize that sound into something more strident and confident than most of the bands affiliated with the movement. A significant portion of the credit for this must go to Matthew, whose muscular drumming provides an extra dimension to their twee contemporaries.
Despite its title, Summer Palace is a record intended to be enjoyed through all seasons. Even if it’s little surprise that Sunny Day Sets Fire have made more of an impact over in the US so far, there’s no good reason things shouldn’t look brighter here in their adopted home country in the coming months.
8Tom Edwards's Score