SONNY describe themselves as a “4 piece garage rock band that, through their music, personifies the experience of being a young adult, rejection and finding a place in society.” The band’s second EP ‘Front and Centre’ has the vigour, pace and liveliness of a band that quite simply wants to have a lot of fun.
[pullquote_left] As the snare rolls begin to climax there’s a quick stop, a slide that can’t help but remind you of Dave Grohl throwing his arm down the neck of the guitar in Monkey Wrench and the riff takes off again backed by the whole band [/pullquote_left]
The EP opens with ‘Silent Cries Of A Dying Optimist’ a riff heavy, punky, proper rock track reminiscent of bands like Winnebago Deal and Foo Fighters. The opening riff is ballsy, fast and immediately effective in drawing you into the song. As the snare rolls begin to climax there’s a quick stop, a slide that can’t help but remind you of Dave Grohl throwing his arm down the neck of the guitar in Monkey Wrench and the riff takes off again backed by the whole band.
Chugging power chords and a relentless drive from the rhythm section take you into the first verse where the flawless vocal execution of the line “Usually my glass is half full, but today ain’t my day. This bucket of optimism is slowly fading away” makes you want to fist pump the air and scream along with the band. There’s something strangely familiar yet distinctly unique about the way SONNY are able to so casually rock this hugely energetic first track. It has that ballsy but ‘don’t care’ attitude that anyone who grew up in the nineties will remember from every decent band of that era.
The chorus is short and sharp before the main riff kicks back in and the song continues in the same vein. A fantastic opener!
On ‘Work Is For The Week’ the band put their punk edge to one side and opt for a sound more evocative of The Rolling Stones jamming with the Stone Roses, and that’s no bad thing. Classic guitar licks link up light fluffy vocals and cautious build ups. All four members of the band have a hand in the singing and this track gives them a great opportunity to showcase some great harmonies. These are particularly prominent in the solo section, lifting the melodic Stones-esque tones into a new level of serenity.
Finally ‘Guitar Man’ manages to combine the punk elements of the first track with the blues-rock guitar licks in the second, giving the listener another lens on the band’s unique combination of sounds. The track opens with the distant sound of people chatting and clinking glasses, presumably in a pub, before the roaring bang of the drums kicks in and the band starts to build the momentum.
The verse has that early Datsuns’ modern rock meets classic vibe while the screaming wah pedal driven guitar breaks hark back to the 70s, occasionally giving a little tip of the cap to some of the classic 80s rock bands on the way. The oohs, aahs and naahs of the backing vocals create an atmospheric ambience which is matched, but not overtaken, by the rock and roll guitar licks and enormous rhythm section. A great end to a great EP.
For me an EP should show you a band’s versatility, its depth, giving you just enough to want more without telling the whole story, and I feel that SONNY really nailed that on ‘Front and Centre’. Mostly though, the energy and enthusiasm displayed in such a short space of time has made me want to see them live. You can’t help but think they’ll be amazing!
Words Mike Roche