Pin It
Rather, the sextet's debut is an imaginative coterie of styles and structures, stretching from big-horizon alternative and skittering electronic circumspection to banjo-based narratives and narcotic jazz reveries.

Sunfold's Toy Tugboats 

(Terpikshore Records)

  Listen up!   If you cannot see the music player below, download the free Flash Player.

click to enlarge 7.30musled_review_sunfold.gif

Administratively, Sunfold is the same circle of six Raleigh friends who also form Annuals, an indie rock outfit that, last year, rode a crest of Internet buzz to a deal with an RCA imprint. Musically, though, the circle soon diverges into a Venn diagram, its two halves sharing a core of lyrical romantic wanderlust but little else. Adam Baker leads the left circle, Annuals, a band that undergirds its arching anthems with floods of experimental textures and liberal cum-kitchen-sink sonics. Kenny Florence helms the right circle, Sunfold, a band that highlights its melodies with pristine production and generally conservative guitar-and-rhythm section sonics.

Sunfold's stake on the right side of the aisle isn't meant to imply boredom, however: Rather, the sextet's debut, Toy Tugboats, is an imaginative coterie of styles and structures, stretching from big-horizon alternative ("Oregon") and skittering electronic circumspection ("Gorgée de Rubis") to banjo-based narratives ("Shapeshiftin'") and narcotic jazz reveries ("To Wake the Eye"). Directed by Florence's crisp instrumental predilections and his fluid voice, Sunfold handles each of these styles well. A flittering mandolin solo comes as competently executed as a piercing electric lead, stately upright bass (courtesy of guest Nic Slaton) as accomplished as big four-string snaps (from member Mike Robinson). Some of the jazz-based tunes blunder into over-affectation. But, for a band of six all in their early 20s, the tastefulness—especially in Florence's guitar and Anna Spence's piano—charms. These are techniques Annuals could sometimes stand to embrace.

But Sunfold sounds best when an earnest Florence lets himself approach the threshold of emo, or when the drive of his youth comes barely tempered by the lessons of his experience: On opener "Oregon," he exits an epic bridge—thin, orderly riffs cutting through splashy cymbals and mild distortion—as though the world's on fire behind him, singing "I'm all on my own now." Its counterpart, the tender and more staid "Sara the American Winter," finds Florence crooning for a girl: He's referencing Lewis Carroll, cleaning his house and looking for escape. With rainstorm samples, swirling synthesizers and a midsection that baits The Lion King, it's as close as Sunfold gets to Annuals. Indeed, there, near where the circles intersect, this entire axis sounds as good as it has to date.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Record Review

More by Grayson Haver Currin

Facebook Activity

Twitter Activity

Comments

Can we just start out by telling people to go see him play?

by Holly Evans Gray on Dex Romweber gets mad (Record Review)

Great band- really amazing, live energy. Happy to see this review, and I can't wait until the full length!

by sliceobri on Flesh Wounds get a Merge single (Record Review)

Most Read

© 2014 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation