By now, you’d think I’d be really tired of bands like Sunshine. There are just so damn many goth-leaning post-punk revival acts out there, it’s hard to keep track of them anymore. There just isn’t any point. But Sunshine, you see, they have something unique. Something special. I could credit it to them coming straight from The Czech Republic, rather than London, Glasgow or NYC (or any other scene-making towns). But it makes a lot more sense if you just listen to them. Sunshine may borrow from Pornography-era Cure, Joy Division and Bauhaus, but they’ve got a radio-friendly take on post-punk that’s refreshing, given their darker nature. And what’s more, they’re louder than Albini on a particularly destructive day.
The dozen songs on Sunshine’s new album, Moonshower and Razorblades are chock full of new wavey synth, noisy delay-heavy guitar and the Daniel Ash-like vocals of frontman Kay. If you weren’t listening all that closely, you might think Sunshine were a modern rock radio station’s flashback weekend program. They sound that authentic. But then again, this album, thanks to modern technology, is louder than Joy Division’s ever were. No offense to Martin Hannett, of course.
Sunshine specializes in anthems. Not the Springsteen or Queen kind, but rather like your favorite `80s import singles. “Victimisanothernameforlover” is a warp speed adrenaline rush through heavy guitars and keyboards. And, in a clever move, after Kay sings, “just fade away,” the song slowly fades out. “Lower Than Low” is a little slower, reminiscent of early `80s Cure. “Vampire’s Dance Hall” is a ridiculously campy title for a song, but makes sense when you hear it. `Nuff said.
More Robert Smith-isms emerge on “Victoria’s Secret Blackmail,” a slower, effects-laden track that ranks among the most melodic and accessible on the album. After a while, many of the songs lose their rock edge to a more omnipresent techno-industrial feel, but fear not. This isn’t Orgy, after all. Even in their most synthetic moments, Sunshine’s songs stand on their own. And though Sunshine isn’t the type of band to clutter their album with trivial guest appearances, none other than Tricky is heard singing in the glam rock-leaning “Neon Religion.” And, unsurprisingly, it’s a great-sounding collaboration, if for no other reason than Tricky’s gravel-filled alien rasp.
Sunshine does a fantastic job of updating goth-rock and post-punk for a 2005 audience. Though traces of The Cure and Love and Rockets are still strongly detectable, they’re decorated with loud blasts of guitar and dancier rhythms. And just in case you didn’t pick up on it, their name is meant to be ironic.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.