Singer/guitaristStephen Bunovsky is a musician of undeniable promise, but one who hasn’t quite worked the “Kinks” out of his system. Pun intended. Ray Davies’s influence hangs around this album like a ghost, and so does John Lennon’s. The Kinks influence is audible on the first track and is so strong that a couple of cuts later, when Bunovsky actually covers one of their songs, it fits right in. “I Found a Reason” is “Ballad of John and Yoko”-era Lennon, sunk by a predictable lyric, and “For Now” is a day in the life of a would-be casualty from the ‘60s. The lack of originality can’t be ignored, but there are certainly far worse colleges for a young songwriter to attend. If Bunovsky does not generate the buzz of excitement that Lennon, especially, does, it is perhaps not entirely fair to ask him to stand up to a legend.
Bunovsky is a former member of power popsters Hannah Cranna. This album arose from demos intended for that band’s aborted third album. The songs don’t sound like demos, but there’s a distinctive oomph missing that could have been provided by more well-formed arrangements and production. The songs get less interesting as the Hazy Sunshine proceeds, a lead guitar part played by someone better suited to rhythm (Bunovsky) obscures the title track, and his clucking, chopping guitar is the only thing distinctive about “He’s Going Home”.
Hazy Sunshine is finally a little too classic pop in it’s form, without enough new ideas to fill up it’s substance. “Hazy Sunshine” is actually a very apt title for this work, it suggests something indefinite, yet radiating a certain warmth. It’s fair to say that Bunovsky songs have the same qualities. They lack focus, and none of them are completely successful, but they’re such puppy dogs of likability you’d feel like you were squashing Stuart Little if you criticized them too harshly. I have to mark this album down in the “failure” box, yet admit I’d like to hear future work by the artist.
This appears to be another album that’s a bit tricky to find online, but it should be available through Pleides Records.
// Notes from the Road
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