AV Sunshine – Sweetwater (EP)

In songs like Sweetwater’s title cut and “Smile (Guitar Rock Mix),” listeners get an up close and personal look at the persistent crooning of AV Super Sunshine that is unlike any other he has shared with us thus far in his career, and I say that knowing full-well just how integral an element his vocal is in this much-buzzed musical project. “Sweetwater,” “Smile (Guitar Rock Mix),” “Steel Bridge (Folk Rock Mix),” “Two Hearts (Guitar Rock Mix),” “August Child,” and “Change” each offer up a masterclass in sensuous singing for a modern age, and though AV is ably backed by his cohorts on this most recent release, I for one couldn’t help but focus on his brilliant handiwork above all others in these six fantastic new songs.

URL: https://www.avsupersunshine.com/

As enthralling as the stinging vocals we find from Sweetwater’s man of the hour are, they are only one ingredient in this EP’s recipe for success; instrumentally speaking, I think that this record just might be the most diversely appointed of any AV Super Sunshine has released since the initial formation of the project. In “Steel Bridge (Folk Rock Mix),” the textured arrangement yields a provocative moodiness that defiantly influences the narrative of the song even more than the interplay between the guitar and vocal does. “Two Hearts (Guitar Rock Mix)” uses dissonant harmonies as a means of reinforcing the sense of wandering that the vocal comes saturated in, and in “August Child,” AV duels with the vibrant strings for our hearts in what feels like an intimate anthem that lasts for a fleeting moment.

In mixing this extended play to be as efficient as possible, AV Super Sunshine did not allow for unneeded excesses to come into the fold but instead made a record that sounds so tangible and real that it’s almost as if it wasn’t recorded in a studio environment at all. “Change” has a bluntness that I had once thought impossible to capture in the synthetic age, and though “Two Hearts (Guitar Rock Mix)” is sporting some smooth finishing over its gilded melodic parts, it isn’t synthetic by any stretch of the imagination; it’s the exact opposite. Honestly, the production work deserves as much kudos as the actual content does in Sweetwater.

I’ve been keeping up with AV Super Sunshine for a long time now, and I intend to follow him even more closely having now heard this all-new EP. In six frenzied excerpts of alternative rock conceptualism, he goes out of his way to raise the bar for his peers and the scene that spawned them without translating as a bossy, self-righteous artist. Much like the other solo units making waves right now, this is a project that has an ever-changing medley of influences, each of whom brings something different into the studio with them every time that AV convenes a new session, but as long as they continue to find the chemistry that they have in this record, AV Super Sunshine is going to remain one of the most respected masterminds of the musical meld in business today.

Mark Druery