Sunshine & the Rain

In the Darkness of My Night

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Following the 2014 dissolution of their highly regarded psych outfit, the Black Hollies, husband-and-wife team Justin and Ashley Morey set out on their own, reformatting themselves as Sunshine & the Rain, a spiky, lo-fi garage pop duo working somewhat in the vein of Cults or the Raveonettes, but with a bit more sonic bite. After introducing the project with a 2015 7" single, the New Jersey band cut its debut full-length at Sonic Youth's Echo Canyon West studio and hired indie guitar hero Jon Spencer to produce. Released by the Black Hollies' longtime label Ernest Jenning Record Co., In the Darkness of My Night is a stripped-down, toothy rock record with a minimalist approach. Like the girl group sound that serves as their essential blueprint, the melodies are simple and straightforward, but the Moreys still manage to squeeze a lot of clamor and attitude out of their limited setup. Spencer's touch is apparent in the album's overall gritty rock aesthetic, but the frequent use of primitive-sounding drum-machine rhythms also puts them in the sonic lineage of electro-punk pioneers Suicide. Tracks like "Let's Go" and lead single "I'm Not Your Girl" combine enough hooks and spunk to rise above the din, but as a whole Darkness never quite seems to get off the ground. Stylistically, this mix of fiery old-school rock and classic pop has been revisited time and time again, but in spite of some spirited performances, Sunshine & the Rain never really offer anything particularly significant to that canon. Like their name, they blend shadowy tones with bright tunes and it's a fun enough listen, if a somewhat forgettable one.

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