Every once in a blue moon comes a band that changes everything, one that challenges both the conventions of music industry and the ears of frustrated followers. Son of the Sun is not that band—at least not yet. What Son of the Sun does, and does well, is make pleasant, accessible music for the masses, and on the band’s latest EP Almost Not There, they do just that. “Grower” albums be damned.
The first four tracks (including head-boppin’ single “10,000”) make for breezy entertainment. By the time the record spins ’round to “Henry’s England,” foot-tapping will surely ensue. With lines such as, “I’ve seen your Henry’s England/I’ve seen him wear his shiny crown/parading on the streets in the lovely shops of London town,” lead singer Zak Ward’s England seems to be more interested in checking out Fergie’s “London Bridge” than saving the Queen, but that’s OK.
Ironically titled “My Best Mistake” continues the upbeat mood with a guitar riff that is at once 21st century surf rock/mumbling shoegaze (surf-gaze?) and late 20th century grunge. It’s the perfect summer beach jam—essentially, “My Best Mistake” is more Blue Crush than anything on the actual Blue Crush soundtrack. (Somewhere, Kate Bosworth agrees.)
Ward takes things down about 16 notches on melancholy “Fruit Jar.” A syrup-soaked, country-flavored ballad about love lost, the song offers up some of the most interesting lyricism on the record. Even though he’s the one doing the dumping (so we don’t feel entirely sorry for him), it’s difficult not to empathize. After all, the Blue Crush beaches of “My Best Mistake” are miles away.
On closer “Don’t Worry,” the charming antics of earlier tracks begin to unravel. Despite the title, we worry. Ward’s embarrassing assault of “la-la-la”s and all-too-forceful attempts to wrangle in the apple of his eye make for an unsatisfying conclusion to a record that started out with such promise.
Despite its strengths, Almost Not There isn’t quite there in terms of polish. If these guys want to break out of their CMJ radio bubble, they’ve got a long way to go.
Son of the Sun – Almost Not There EP tracklist:
- “As Far As Lucy”
- “Henry’s England”
- “My Best Mistake”
- “Fruit Jar”
- “Don’t Worry”