Sonny Smith is often lumped in with his San Francisco garage rock peers. But while San Fran musicians Kelley Stoltz and the Fresh & Onlys Shayde Sartin pitch in, there is a sense of mysticism on the fifth Sonny and the Sunsets record that differentiates it from much of the three-chord rock coming out of the city. With elements of glam and soothing, Beach Boysesque pop, Smith weaves a fantastical web of tracks originally conceived as short films, giving Talent Night At The Ashram a film score quality.
Naturally, Smith’s 60s bedroom acoustic folk is still on display, but also so much more: the summertime jangle of opener The Application has a charming doo-wop twist, while a heavy mod influence can be heard in clap-along Alice Leaves For The Mountains. Smith has fashioned the record as one for every season: like films you feel compelled to watch again and again, it has a range of emotions, all showcasing Smith as one of the most unheralded songwriters out there today.
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