The Sun may have done itself a disservice by releasing its full-length debut Blame It On The Youth in a DVD-only format, because a lot of attention is going to be focused on the marketing plan, not the music. Of course, that may have been The Sun's plan all alongor the plan of its label. Warner Bros. released two Sun EPs (one in 2003, one in 2004) prior to Blame It On The Youth, and given the novel DVD strategy, it's almost like the band's handlers are trying to avoid putting out a real album. Then again, it's tough to imagine how Blame It On The Youth would sound as a "real album," played straight through, because the clever, catchy songs come in such a disjointed variety of styles. With the way bandleader Chris Burney tries out Violent Femmes-like garage rock on "2B4," blatant Pavement rip-off on "Pavement Jive," and pulsing Sloan/Fountains Of Wayne power-pop on "It Must Be You," the record already sounds like the greatest-hits collection of a decades-old cult band.
The videos are an equally eclectic lot. The snaky sex-funk of "Romantic Death" comes complete with close-ups of masturbators' faces. The twangy, skewed romantic post-mortem "We Tried" shows the human wake of a female serial killer. Other videos match the sound of their songs, like the Triplets Of Belleville-inspired stationary bike race that accompanies the straight-up, push-to-the-finish "Lost At Home," or the images of narrow corridors and unfurnished basements that illustrate the robotic "Rockstop." Then there are videos where the pictures help define the reaction, like "These Heights," which sounds like an Oz-pop exercise, primarily because its cheap, computer-animated video features koalas and kangaroos.
The problem is that not everyone wants to watch 45 minutes of video just to hear some songs, and even though Blame It On The Youth is supposed to be fully downloadable into MP3 players, there's still a disconnect in the consumption process. An unbeatable song like "Waitin' On High"with its snappy beat and lyrics about "pathetic little hipsters" getting "punched in the face"deserves to be heard the natural way, as the "play that again right now" song jammed in the middle of a great rock 'n' roll record. The people interfering with that ritual are the ones who should be punched in the face.