It’s usually a good sign when an album starts well and ends well. But Green Imagination, the second album from the Sunshine Fix, starts with its best song (which isn’t to say the song’s that good) and ends with its second best (which is to say the song’s kinda bad).
Opener “Statues and Glue” could be actual ’60s British pop, which is probably the best compliment you could give to this genre-aping group. Its gentle harmonies and punching drum beat is hardly anything new, but the revving bass line keeps things moving enough to make the song an enjoyable pop pleasure. Similarly, closer “Sunday Afternoon” uses a guitar bounce and some back-up vocals to keep its two minutes basically worth your time. But in between is some incredibly boring, awful ’60s-lite pop.
Touring later this year with bubble-fi up-and-comers Saturday Looks Good to Me, this splinter group from Elephant 6’s Olivia Tremor Control holds the Zombies’s Odessey and Oracle close to their heart and in the front of their minds. The group could be negatively compared to the Beatles circa Magical Mystery Tour, and I wouldn’t frown at an occasional Between the Buttons reference either, so long as it was equally unfavorable.
All of these comparisons to the tangentially psychedelic ’60s pop would be fine as long as it paid off in quality songs. When it comes to the height of verse-chorus-verse compositional trends, treading water is more than acceptable (see early Beulah). It’s only when your work fails to generate any energy that the work becomes lackluster and not only irrelevant, but also unlistenable.
The Sunshine Fix tries desperately to make you ignore its neglect for entertainment by throwing everything at you: catchy back-up vocals (“Extraordinary/Ordinary”), spacey vocals and a children’s chorus (“What Do You Know”), and late-era solo John Lennon rip-offs (“Rx”). The worst songs here, including “Face the Ghost,” sound like alt-country mixed with classic rock. If Wilco’s Summer Teeth had been awful, this is what it would have sounded like: stuck in antiquated recording techniques and simplistic over-production, drenched in unwarranted happiness and dull melodies. The band’s music disproves its title: Not even sunshine can fix dead songs.