Sonny & the Sunsets
Tomorrow Is Alright
A baby boomer might think Tomorrow Is Alright sounds like the Turtles; a twentysomething might pick up on some Beach Fossils or Best Coast. Reissued here after a limited run on vinyl, Tomorrow Is Alright reads like the halfway point between retro-rock and the go-to indie trends of 2010. In the hands of Sonny Smith and his three Sunsets (with guest appearances by members of the Fresh & Onlys, Thee Oh Sees and other Bay Area bands), the ever popular summery vibe and adequately strummed guitars—another touchstone trend—come muffled by lo-fi production, but not obnoxiously so, and certainly not enough to obscure the melodies as they subtly shift between doo wop, Everly Brother balladry, sludgy psych-pop, and Jonathan Richman's entire catalog.
While it sacrifices instant suburban nostalgia for broader appeal, the album is wonderfully strange. For starters, Smith is something of a West Coast Kurt Vile, quietly churning out an impressive output of mostly psych-pop since the mid-90s, (and he doesn't have a particularly great voice). There are buffers in the form of flirty back-up singers, whistling and other charms, but his plain singing lends itself nicely to the doe-eyed melancholy of "Too Young to Burn" and the deadpan cheesiness of "Lovin' on an Older Gal." There are other oddities too, like the chirpy aliens in "Planet of Women" and the dreamy drugginess of "Strange Love" that, while each is immediately hooky, get better with time. Tomorrow is looking alright, but you know what? So is the past. Here's an album that perfectly embraces both.