Work And Love
Room F/Pravda Records
Link: Official Site
There is a distinct yearning for the nostalgia of 1990s college rock nestled into the trapping of Work and Love. The Sunshine Boys’s sophomore effort presents a collection of endearing Vitamin D pop nuggets that is perfectly balanced. Featuring a powerhouse trio—Freda Love Smith (Blake Babies and Mysteries of Life), Dag Juhlin (Poi Dog Pondering and The Slugs), and Jacqueline Schimmel (Big Hello and Justin Roberts)—neither are these songs snarky nor overly bubbly. Sunshine Boys know how to extrapolate catchy vocal hooks and infectious melodies that feel every bit nostalgic as it does current.
When I listen to a song like “The World Turning Around” or “Don’t Keep It Inside,” I can instantly smell a Midwestern summer surrounded by a lost world on the Near Northside of Indianapolis or a stroll down Kirkwood in Bloomington. The Lovemeknots or Sardina or United States Three fire off songs in the distance. There is a melancholy connection between the flowing style of Work and Love and that time in my life engrossed in the college rock and pop love buzz is a bias I have to carry here. I want to say that their musical output shines beyond that, especially when Juhlin’s voice is an elixir.
“Moonshine” is proof of a band so confident in their music that they can blend primitivism with creative poetic flow. When they hit that chorus, it’s instant love. You cannot help but feel like you are grabbing onto something you cannot quite reach. So you listen to it again and again and again, hanging onto every note.
“It’s in the way you walk when you walk with me/It’s in the way you talk when you talk to me. . . But it’s so much more, it’s the things you see,”— “A Ghost, At Best” is a coming of age song built on timelessness. Age no longer becomes a factor and Juhlin’s words are very poignant within the realization that, like this band, we as listeners continue to evolve.
Work and Love allows us not to lose sight of where we came from, but it also paints a smile on our face when these three musicians make something as glorious and fluid as this album presents with the simplicity of reality paired up to every hook. Suddenly the times we are in does not feel so menacing after all. Like a comfort blanket, I simply cannot get enough of this album.