Published Jul 10, 2020On their sophomore album, Kamloops-based band Mother Sun fully dive into the world of lo-fi psychedelic jazz pop. The band stay true to their indie pop inclinations while experimenting with other sounds, ultimately building into a fun, easy-going project.
Each track on SIPS drifts between bop hit, garage rock jam and piano ballad, but the album is at its best when Mother Sun embrace their pop sensibilities. "Lemonade" and "Sea Salt" utilize blazing guitar riffs and driving drums to push the songs into indie pop bliss. while the analog quality of specific synth arrangements gives songs like "Lemonade" or "Sucralose" an old-school video game quality, like Koji Kondo himself arranged them.
"Wild Vines" stands out with its strong jazz influence. Sounding closest to Mild High Club as ever, Mother Sun builds a rich texture of guitar, chime-like synth, and horns to draw listeners in and demand attention. SIPS ends with "Happy Medium," a loose track that indulges into free-form instrumentation. The ever-shifting track slowly builds into a rewarding symphony of piano and violin accompaniments swirling together in an intoxicating expanse.
Thematically is where the album starts to falter. Over several tracks like "Pizza for Days," "Lemonade" and "Sucralose," Mother Sun take a critical approach to society's overindulgent eating habits, in a manner that comes off contrived and patronizing rather than adequately thought out. Additionally, attempts at contemplative ballads such as "Tip of the Iceberg" leave a lot to be desired. Compelling elements like the flute are dragged down by self-aggrandizing introspection that comes across as insincere.
With SIPS, Mother Sun have built a fun, free-flowing album that brings compelling instrumentation to the listeners' ears, fillwed with plenty of great indie-pop moments and just enough psychedelic influence to keep each track diverse and engaging. (Earth Libraries)