As the indie-twanged and rushing waves of Ode to Sunshine’s late-bloomer “Children” fills your ears with the jingle-jangle majesty of its low-key rustle, it would be easy to christen the Delta Spirit’s sonically referential sound as the Violent Femmes gone sepia. Many already have. But the Spirit’s warbly, raw-throat desperation and the pressure-drop swoon of their seasick dynamics sound more like Alec Ounsworth clapping his hands and saying yeah while making Music from Big Pink.
That said, there’s a serrated edge running through the songs, amid the rootsy sawdust blur of the title track or the ‘60s acoustic-pop of “Streetwalker.” It drives an authentic sense of sweaty, youthful aching through the LP’s heart and separates it from the playfully adolescent (though still blisteringly good) folk-punk of a band like the Femmes.
Despite Delta Spirit’s anarchic (i.e., creatively opportunistic) sampling of everything from cold war folk to the Cold War Kids, when the band members hit their stride — as on the rumbling, locomotive grooves of piano-stung epic Americana on “Trashcan” — Sunshine becomes nothing less than an ode to musical joy.