As rock futurists tweak formulas and fixate on new nerdy genre configurations, other vinyl-obsessed acts patiently polish the past. As with many of their analog-obsessed brethren, the decade clock stops for Silver Sunshine in the '60s and '70s. Songs about gazing at the sun further paint a vision fixed firmly skyward, where the heavens hold golden melodies from the Kinks and the Beatles (especially apparent in the romantic balladry of Sunshine's "Another Day"), and the cracked-psychological sprawl of early Pink Floyd. The San Diego band's sunbursts of psych pop offer flashbacks to a musical landscape ruled by the British flag and colored in confectionary hues.

Sponsored
Justice is on the ballot in November
Vote Carolyn Ladd by November 3rd for a more progressive justice system

Silver Sunshine also use jeweled organ riffs and billowing vocal harmonies to bounce pop hooks to elevations near Elliott Smith heights. But instead of playing pop straight, they distort its texture with swirling vapor trails of effects and bright clusters of guitar fuzz.

On the latest Silver Sunshine EP, A Small Pocket of Pure Spirit (Empyrean Records), the band also take a couple of cues from Brit pop. They hit an ebullient mix of funk and flower-power pop on "Hiroshima Never Again"; it's a successful merger that could compete with the finest moments of a Charlatans UK song. But unlike, say, retro-fetishists the Dandy Warhols—who try every vintage style on for size to see what'll fit with mainstream success—Silver Sunshine allow their aesthetic to hang in a moodier haze. There's less of rock's cocksure swagger and more the sense of musical discovery within the annals of freakpop.

Support The Stranger

While their choruses build to kaleidoscopic dimensions, Sunshine's heavily Hendrix-influenced guitar solos slip darker shadows into their songs. And the lyrics occasionally offer additional creepiness; "She's the Reason" details the metamorphosis of a woman into a flowering plant.

It's a shame these guys canceled their scheduled show in Seattle this month; with so much to listen for on their record, you can only imagine the stoned pop bliss they evoke live. For now, though, cop a copy of Pure Spirit and let your mind tour a new/old sonic universe.

jennifer@thestranger.com