Just when I think I’m drowning in horrid records for the month, JetSet comes back to add one more record to their now three-in- three-months winning streak. First Macha, then Tram, and now Sister Sonny. I’m the most surprised of all that a record called Love Songs , of all things, could get my pick of the month, but there you go. Sister Sonny stripmines the early ’90s 4AD sound (oh, for those days) and fuses it to the pacing of Lanterna and AMP for some really-quite-lovely songs. “Bay Lennox” sees Sonny borrowing some weapons from Macha’s arsenal — xylophone, strings — augmented with their own gently-fuzzed out guitar and VERY slurred vocals for a hazy lament to lost dignity. “M. Singalong” is even better, with Luna-esque harmonies, warm organ and vocals echoed and altered into unconsciousness as he mutters, “Everything is beautiful.” It’s little dramas like this that should land on my doorstep more often.
The only weak moments are on songs like “Bossa Drug,” and “Audience” where they try to sound like bands you know, too self-consciously indie, too Sonic Youth, instead of breaking hearts with their self-conscious majesty. “Sonny and Clyde” is that one REM song that I have been hoping for always, one that stripped away the annoying artifice, and replaced it with Velvet(Underground)-y colors and shapes. Check out the eerily Stipe-ish vocal performance, natch! “Dolores Haze” and “Tristesse” both bring to mind the Glove, for some reason, which is a VERY good thing, brimming with insomnia, treated piano, disorienting sounds and loneliness. Instrumental “A Girl’s There, Her Boyfriend’s There, She Says” almost bores me to death, but luckily, it ends abruptly and fades right into… “Boy/Girl Scene,” which sounds like an outtake from the new Dream City Film Club album! Cue me nearly fainting and counting my blessings that more than one band can capture that timeless sound of falling apart. I should point out the brilliant echo garage guitar on Valium— just like that one lost AM radio ballad. “Bonus Track” is pretty much just there, but considering the rest of the dross I reviewed this month, seven life-affirming songs and I’ll consider myself a happy boy.
Jetset Records, 67 Vestry St. #5C, New York, NY 10013; http://jetset.sinner.com