Well here I go reviewing an album released over 30 years ago. Headphones on and escaping to the memories of my youth.
To someone not familiar with the work of the Sunnyboys, you might ask why they’d release a new mix of an album that never really went anywhere?
In 1982 Sunnyboys released their second album Individuals. Recorded just six months after delivering their self-titled debut album Sunnyboys, it showed the growth in then 21 year old songwriter Jeremy Oxley’s songwriting ability. It was an album with layered harmonies and guitar; a feel good, fun album. That is what it sounded like live, anyway. Unfortunately the vinyl (No CDs then) wasn’t the same.
Individuals was recorded in New Zealand and ultimately mixed in LA. But the final mix didn’t capture what the band had delivered in the studio. It began a long downward spiral of depression for Jeremy, and as documented in Kaye Harrison’s movie The Sunnyboy, Jeremy declared his songs had been “stolen” from him. For the rest of the band, they knew what they had done, and what it sounded like when they recorded. But what came back from LA was just not it.
But before it was taken to the States, veteran producer Lobby Loyde had provided a rough mix of the album presumably for the ears of Mushroom Records who were funding the operation. The band never heard these mixes.
30 years later Lobby Loyde passed away and his archive of tapes were discovered. Now the band has released this original “rough” mix as the new Individuals Deluxe Edition. Of the 11 tracks recorded for Individuals, eight were retrieved from Lobby’s archives with This Is Real, b-side Pain and the title track Individuals, the only songs remaining on the collection from the original release. There is also an inclusion also of a five-song radio broadcast from Sydney in 1982. Plus a bonus of the classic 7 inch version of Show Me Some Discipline, a favourite of all Sunnyboys fans…
Well what do you get?
If you are a Sunnyboys Fan like me, it is a crisp, cleaner, bouncier mix, with the muddiness of the original removed. Vocals are crisp and clean, as are the many layers of guitar. This is the sound that the boys knew was recorded in the studio. It also produces the sound and energy of a live Sunnyboys show.
If you have not heard this album before, it is a classic, tales of love and life, feelings, and good times all with the beautiful happy chords and twangling notes that is the Sunnyboys. Dark tones in some of the words, with music that is so happy. A contradiction in emotions in music that makes for a great listen.
What is even better, is the band themselves feel kind of vindicated, that album they made back then finally sounds as it should. Made in 1982, still fresh as a daisy and relevant today.
Individuals is due for release 27 February and Sunnyboys are touring nationally in March.