I’m not entirely sure what Wild Sweet Orange fans were expecting when Preston Lovinggood announced he would be returning with a solo record. I am, however, absolutely certain they weren’t expecting Sun Songs. While Wild Sweet Orange had a tendency to veer back and forth between acoustic-driven ‘90s emo and bare-bones folk numbers, there wasn’t that much of an indication for Lovinggood’s apparent fixation with 1960s/’70s powerpop. Which is a downright shame considering Sun Songs is some of the strongest work of Lovinggood’s career.
From the opening trio of tracks (especially the third, “Papa’s in the Movies”), Lovinggood brings to mind names new and old, including, surprisingly often, Dan Bejar. From nuanced vocal delivery to grasp of melody, Lovinggood proves that he’s more than able with his newly self-imposed genre confines. There’s more than enough here to make Sun Songs one of 2013’s most fascinating and enjoyable releases.