Soundshine... Probably not one for Joy Division fans
Review: David Myhr – Soundshine
Published on April 11th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Formerly of Swedish popsmiths The Merrymakers, David Myhr’s debut solo album Soundshine retains his old group’s relentlessly sunny disposition, the results of which make for some oddly confusing moments given its largely straightforward and self-explanatory nature.
“Never Mine” kicks things off in agreeably undemonstrative fashion, a bouncy yet wistful combination of piano, cheerful backing vocals and some sort of chirpy flute thing reminding of unfairly forgotten ’90s types The Supernaturals, before “Looking For a Life” reinforces Myhr’s knack for a killer chord progression, the likes of which he throws in once or twice on each song to elevate the otherwise unremarkable tweeness to something altogether more admirable.
“Got You Where He Wanted” is sophisticated and bitter-sweet enough to be a lost Elvis Costello classic, while the triumphant brass section of “I Love the Feeling” makes it four out of four in terms of conceivable summer hits, but therein lies one of this album’s problems; it feels like a singles collection as opposed to any kind of exciting sensory journey, and this could work in its favour if they weren’t mostly so…well, familiar.
“Get It Right” does well by its title as long as ‘It’ is a mid-tempo Fountains of Wayne song, while “Cut to the Chase” sounds like Badly Drawn Boy writing for McFly, which is sort of like the musical equivalent of eating Rusk; sure, it tastes pretty good, but you know deep down that you’re far too long in the tooth (pun intended) for this sort of thing.
“Don’t Say No” is nice, breezy pop but merely serves as another nail in the ‘anti-eclectic’ coffin, not to mention piling another distressingly unimaginative song title on top of an already glittering array of them, while “Loveblind” does its best to sum up its surroundings with the line “sunshine all the time, just like California”. There’s not a song on here that isn’t enjoyable, but there’s far more stylistic and lyrical variety required to sustain interest across an entire album, unless of course you happen to be the dubiously proud owner of the world’s sweetest tooth.
“The One” provides belated respite with stately chamber-pop strings making it sound a bit like an “Eleanor Rigby” for teeny-boppers, while the following “Wanderlust” contains a rather ace circus theme-like section, but it’s hard to get around the fact that these two songs offer up such sample lyrics as, respectively, “the one is you” and “make this moment last forever”. It might be honest, it might be sweet, but it smacks of at best a cosy alliance with cliché, and at worst a lack of effort.
“Icy Tracks” rides in on a welcome grunge-lite chug before promptly reverting to type both sonically and lyrically (“today might be our lucky day” and “we can make it all the way” just two snippets of note), although the psych-y backwards thing at the end is pretty cool. Funnily enough, curtain-closer “Ride Along” represents Soundshine‘s stand-out track, stomping, recorders and trumpets-featuring mini-epic that it is. More of this kind of thing next time round would make things a damn sight more interesting.
Rocksucker says: Two and a Half Quails out of Five!