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Sun River

Sun River

(El Paraiso; US: 25 Jun 2012; UK: 25 Jun 2012)

Echo of the Jingle Jangle

This Danish trio makes alt-folk instrumentals and harmony-laden songs rich with influences from the past five decades of guitar-based music; their album is a grower. Opener “Moon” might be a simple Chris Bell outtake, while “Villaneuva Esperanza” begins as if stepping into footprints left by Tim Buckley or John Martyn, before washing them away with subtle waves of West Coast wah wah and fuzz which betray the fact that two members of Sun River also play in the psych-instrumental group Causa Sui.


The driving guitar fills and breezy urgency of “Lines” suggest early R.E.M. or Love and conjures the image of a carefree hitchhiker leaning back into daydreams having just scored a ride in a sportscar on the California coastal highway. “Grey” has cool longing vocals and shimmering guitar, and is infused with the romantic pull of elsewhere and a strange feeling of immediacy and nostalgia, similar to what the Portuguese call “saudade.”


The picking at the start of “Dawn Patrol” imitates the lonely craft of Nick Drake and has slight echoes of the open-tuned rhythmic explorations of John Fahey. Here and there traces similar to Gastr del Sol or the dawn-of-post-rock album Directions in Music merely add to the excellent reference points. I’m not so fond of “Lake Victoria” because one person’s “epic track” is another person’s “over-repetitive strum going on too long and then repeating a word or phrase as if whipping yourself into a spiritual transcendent state when not being Van Morrison.” A minor gripe because fans of good tunes played on “real” instruments, with an analog warmth and a sense of tradition, will find much to enjoy here.

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