Safari Season

The Sound of the Sun

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Safari Season is just a duo, but on much of The Sound of the Sun they have the sound of a full band, due to numerous contributions by others on bass, backing vocals, drums, keyboards, and more. It is indeed the sound of the sun, in that it's obviously inspired by California surf music. Explicitly, the most audible influence is the Beach Boys; more subtly, you can hear other forms of retro California sunshine pop, and perhaps some hints of '60s Baroque pop artists like the Left Banke. It sounds a little bleached out (even for a genre that was pretty white to begin with), more like music to drowse to on the beach than to surf or chase girls by. There's a sense of languid, sometimes almost studied restraint that does set it aside from the run-of-the-mill surf revivalism, but it also means it lacks the energy and innovation of the best of their inspirations. Those that are suckers for Brian Wilson-like approaches to composition and arranging may lap up tracks like "Peaceful," one of the most highly textured offerings with its trumpet and strings. (In fact, on "Growing Young," the similarities grow too great, in this case in some of the passages' resemblance to the Beach Boys' "Heroes and Villains.) They're at their worst when they emulate the more rocking, happy-go-lucky aspects of surf music, as they do on "Shoot the Curl."

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