Daydreaming, I stumble through the door onto the pavement after the gig, songs still whirling in my ears. I notice my whiskey bottle is nearly empty and I’ve got an overwhelming urge to vomit and roll around in it. Rock & roll. I’ve never seen SONNY live but I can imagine this might be how a night after one of their sets might pan out.
SONNY are a four-piece hard rock/alternative band from Worthing, UK and their debut E.P ‘Don’t Believe The Light’ was released 19 April 2014. The band are currently unsigned. The 3-track E.P is a cacophonous ode to the frustrations of being young men in modern England, but with a distinctive classic American twang. The E.P title has me immediately enthralled – Where’s the light? Why is it to be mistrusted? Are there any incriminating social contexts between SONNY and ‘The light’ that I should be aware of?
I’d say the opening tracks are highly reminiscent of early Kings Of Leon, Queens Of The Stone Age and a little bit of Foo Fighters. In what seems to be a popular move in emerging artists today, these lads are not afraid to drag rock & roll kicking and screaming from its beach recliner in the balmy back garden of the early 1980s. So without further bullshit, let’s get down to the tracks.
The release opens with 216, a fast paced track that has absolutely no qualms with assaulting any entity that gets in its way. The doors on this track opens with a quick guitar muting pattern that appears to be jogging towards you as you listen. Before long it is joined by its bass and drum mates who have just got back from a stint at the gym and are ready to do some damage. This is by far my favourite part of the song and really grabs the listener’s attention. The resultant verses and choruses are solid and well grounded making the track a perfect driving song. One thing I notice (throughout the E.P) is a slight lack of energy from the vocalist – I’m not totally convinced Mr Sutton is giving 100% which is essential to blend the vocals in with the driving rhythm section and wailing guitars. That’s just me though.
The next track, Bipolar Weather, is opened by what sounds like someone asking me if I’ve got a mint. In reply, yeah I’ve got one, cheers.
The song itself bursts into a pretty awesome continuation with some sick bass-work. The verses are actually quite Thin Lizzy-esque which I really like, it sits well in the E.P with the previous track. At around 2:09, however, the track descends into some sort of funky Bootsy Collins jam session which is awesome, but by all accounts should not fit at all with the rest of the track. Miraculously, the lads manage to pull it off and drag it back to the debauched sound we’re used to.
The final track in the E.P is called Work Is For The We(ea)k, which I like lots. The song seems summery and happy at the outset (which reminds me a lot of Taking Back Sunday’s old stuff), but is really a groan at having to contribute massively to the pockets of corporation owners just so you can afford to have a sandwich. I feel that the track is slightly out-of-place in the context of the E.P, however. There are two heavy, high energy songs at the start and by the end of Bipolar Weather I was gearing myself up for a balls-to-the-wall finale. Having said all that, the gentle nature and solid structure of the song is testament to the versatility of the band and it’s always good to show your audience all the different shit you can do.
All in all, ‘Don’t Believe The Light’ is a promising opening offering from these newcomers on the West Sussex gigging circuit. SONNY have released their second E.P ‘Front And Centre’ in mid July this year which will be well worth keeping an eye out for. Upcoming gigs include The Richmond Arms, Chichester on 2 August.