Every great band that sees its members split in separate directions reveals a cross-section in the anatomy of its songwriting. In 2001, when Olivia Tremor Control parted ways, songwriters Will Cullen Hart and Bill Doss started The Circulatory System and The Sunshine Fix, respectively. Prior to that it was hard to tell the two singer/songwriters apart, as they both sounded quite similar underneath the lo-fi effects-addled haze of OTC. But in their new outfits, it became clear who was responsible for which aspects of the band’s sound. The Sunshine Fix was an ultra power poppy affair, which made sense, as Doss was responsible for OTC’s more accessible moments like “A New Day” and “Hideaway,” while The Circulatory System was a dizzying psychedelic head trip, not unlike Hart’s weirder moments on Black Foliage, or the “Green Typewriters” portion of Dusk at Cubist Castle. Though both interesting, neither band, at first, was able to recreate the magic of Olivia Tremor Control’s strangely catchy brew of druggy psychedelia and sunshiny harmonies.
A few years later, both bands have prepped new material to unleash on the indie pop public. Though The Circulatory System’s next album is still being worked on, The Sunshine Fix’s newest Green Imagination is finally here and those who may not have taken to the Sunshine Fix’s debut, Age of the Sun, may have a change of heart upon hearing it.
Though Hart’s bizarro transitions are clearly absent, Doss has taken his songwriting to new heights with Green Imagination. And though the musique concrête compositions aren’t anywhere to be found, Doss has brought an element of the psychedelic back to his music with plenty of phase effects and reverb. Doss’s songs, this time around, run the gamut from the T. Rex leaning “Face the Ghost” to the Kinks-with-falsetto rock of “Extraordinary/Ordinary” to the Lennon-esque piano ballad “Enjoy the Teeth.”
What Doss really does best, though, is psychedelic pop music, no hooks or riffs spared. And Green Imagination has plenty to offer in that area: the bouncy “Papers Fall,” the orchestrated British Invasion of “Statues and Glue,” the riff-heavy “Sunday Afternoon” or the groovy trip in “What Do You Know.”
The Sunshine Fix’s first outing, Age of the Sun, wasn’t exactly what everyone was hoping for after Olivia Tremor Control crumbled, but Green Imagination is the first post-Olivia project that’s come close to capturing the catchiness and weirdness of their stunning two record discography. And it’s nowhere near as long as either. Bill Doss finally sounds like he’s at home with his new project, and hopefully, OTC fans will be at home with The Sunshine Fix as well.
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.