San Francisco’s Ocean Beach boasts beautiful views of the Pacific, the infamous Seal Rocks, and the relics of the Camera Obscura and Sutro Baths. The area’s mix of timeless and dated, wilderness and precision also borne Sonny & The Sunsets and their blissed out ode the mid-century pop.
Sonny Smith, along with Kelley Stoltz, Tahlia Harbour, and Ryan Browne, crafts a chilled-out, lo-fi tribute to the sounds of the past, calling to mind everything from “Earth Angel” to The Byrds to Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros’ indie anthem “Home“.
Hand claps, finger snaps, acoustic guitars, and guy/girl vocals give Tomorrow Is Alright a homey feel, letting the listener settle into it at once have them playing along, as it were, a few songs in. Melodies as familiar as a 50s high school dance play out on “Planet of Women” and “Strange Love” – the former ripe with Harbour’s charming deadpan delivery and the latter a piece of perfection with its distorted lead, doowop-ready backup vocals, and cavernous piano.
In addition to Sonny & the Sunsets’ hip-swaying, head-bobbing melodies, the album also contains little lyrical snapshots that catch the mind’s eye, like “strange girl with lipstick smudged / asked me if I’ve ever loved” and “every tear rolling down is a lesson learned” – not particularly weird or striking, but having that certain something that stays with you long after the lights have faded.