The best way to describe my relationship with the album A Brooklyn Biography, the new release from the borough-based Sunshine Nights, was that it proved the main point of an article I just read about relationships that says if you are lucky enough to find a “weird one,” (think Wes Anderson weird, not John Wayne Gacy weird) make sure that you do not let him or her go. Quirks that seem odd or unusual at first are actually authentic and unique personality qualities you will grow to love.
At first, the six tracks of indie Folk, Blues, and old timey Americana that make up Sunshine Nights’ fourth studio release seemed too odd and disharmonious for me. Fast forward 24 hours and the songs no longer seemed odd, but idiosyncratic. Indeed, I found myself humming several of Amy Priya’s and Stephen (Ferrara) Sunshine’s hooks, which combine a melodic mix of instruments and styles to create an authentic lyrical response to the new, but somewhat less genuine, version of New York City.
“NYScene” is the best song of the release, capturing all of the highpoints of the album. The vocals of the duo play against each other, but the juxtaposition forms a crisp harmony that underlines the imagery of the lyrics. The banjo and other string instruments swing between addictive riffs and attention gabbing licks, framing a musical canvas that illustrates the songwriting talents of the duo. The lyrics depict a New York City that lost all the elements which made it special and inspired so many artists in the first place. Now all that remains is a “city that will change you, but not quite like the movies make it seem.”
“Colors” brings so many instruments and influences into play that it is hard to pin the song down. However, after a few listens to the simple yet strong toe-tapping bass, which underlies the song and pulls all disparate elements together, you stop caring, and just enjoy the catchiness of this short burst of Americana.
The vocals of the duo play against each other, but the juxtaposition forms a crisp harmony that underlines the imagery of the lyrics.
“Here We Go” showcases Sunshine’s soft, rhythmic, acoustic blues guitar and banjo plucking against Amy Priya’s upbeat vocals. The lyrics work through the dynamic of a break up, although from a lover or from something more intangible, like “the city,” is left for the listener to decide.
The final three songs pose the only real problem with the album. While not poorly crafted, they simply can’t match the power of the first three. However, if the first half of the record accurately demonstrates the talent and song writing strength of the duo, there is little doubt the future will hold more sunshine than night for the band.
7,000 out of 10,000 Rawckus Kung Fu Throwing Stars