CD REVIEW: Sunny Travels - Meet the Beer Pirates
By: Levi Canfield
Technical Grade: 5/10
Weakness: Mixing Quality, Production
Sunny Travels is an undiscovered garage rock group from Oregon. Armed with only myspace and twitter as their reference to existence they don’t have a huge following. Their most recent album, Meet The Beer Pirates!, is the 2009 release from their basement four-track recordings.
After all of the albums 32 minutes you wont forget Summer is here. This album is just rife with parables to good times and campsite fires. All of the exuberant energy the band contains pours out onto their cd, especially opening track “Flip It Over”. The minute the electric guitar jangles out the riff you are caught into the wave. While being one of the only two songs on the album with a solo, the bands success lies in the simplicity. Rather than dedicating more time to showing off the technical chops, they focus on driving the song forward. That basic logic is what really amps up the bands sound more than anything else. This album picks up most of its points in all the comfortable acoustic numbers. With all the budget recording, the less added to the mix helps keep the songs sound cleaner. That’s why songs with just guitar and vocals work best. One of the more delightful forays is the reggae tinged “Down On Me” with its large chorus it’s almost hard to forget after hearing it. Sunny Travels simplicity might draw thin on some people who claim they lack the talent to write something better. What that simplicity does is important though. It makes the album accessible to anyone listening. Overcomplicating the matter would only scorn people away. Even despite the lack of a studio, Sunny Travels makes the most of what they got. Shown fantastically on “Tell Me” by employing a Kazoo into the recording mix for the final chorus.
Unfortunately the lack of said studio makes this fuzzy album feel like it was recorded on a ghetto blaster. During songs like “Saturday” its hard to tell if that electric guitar is even playing notes. The mixing is so high on the treble that during “Saturday” and “Backstabber” the screech of the guitar pierces the ear. This whole album is drenched in the lo-fi that many bands currently use to cover up their inadequacies. The difference between those bands and Sunny Travels is that I would love to hear Meet The Beer Pirates! remastered.
Summer has officially arrivedand Sunny Travels are here to take you away with them. A very enjoyable listen from front to back, this cd is very accessible to anyone of all generations. It’s an easy anthem to nice days in summer, warm Saturday campfires, and thirsty mornings. The simplicity in the songs and music isnt something to knock against them, but something to relish. This is an album that flows from its first to last track nicely without dropping a beat. All the songs apologize for their rough nature with the overwhelming attitude of not taking things too seriously that Sunny Travels seems to emphasize. I mean after all, the cover on top of the CD is an open beer can.
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