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Sunny Day Sets Fire: Summer Palace

Album: Summer Palace
Label: Iamsound

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Sunny Day Sets Fire's debut full-length certainly has the right raw elements to make Elephant 6 devotees' summers a little brighter. Operating on the reasonable theory that everything sounds better when sprinkled with glockenspiel and power-pop guitars, Summer Palace has sunshine and chord changes to spare. Likeable enough in theory, it's dragged down by misplaced ambition: Two-thirds of the songs clock in at more than four minutes long, and the whole thing adds up to an hour, far too ungainly to be spritely. Everything ends up melting into a haze of diffuse perkiness. The odd hiccup intrudes: "End Of The Road" has a guitar line that sounds suspiciously like "Hotel California," but soon tames it with obligatory hand-claps. "Siamese" is a nice shot of melancholy, but it's a momentary deviation. If Blonde Redhead has made the world safe for weird international combinations of musicians—this band represents Italy, Hong Kong, Canada, and the UK—to revamp classical pop formulas, SDSF would do better to try schizophrenic formalism rather than this monolithic approach.