this is a stunning record. Gavin Clarke's voice sounds almost unnatural, almost the product of an angelic natural sound beaten into shape with whiskey and cigarettes. The sound the band achieve is incredible too - with a minimum of orchestration on opener 'Crazy On The Weekend', Clarke's voice drifts over a sparse acoustic backdrop like cigarette smoke over a bar table. Lyrically the album is dark, depressing and lonely, but that's what Sunhouse are about. Some of the 'louder' tracks aren't quite as successful as their more reserved moments - second track 'Hurricane' and closer 'Animal' suffer from almost having too much going on sonically - but in minimalist tracks like 'Crazy', 'Hard Sun', 'Loud Crowd' and the beautiful 'Lips' Sunhouse draw you into a world of solitude and urban desolation. Highly recommended.
I notice one of these reviewers says 'shame they didn't go onto better things'. Well, they did. If you like this record, I strongly recommend you check out 'Small Circle' by Clayhill - this is Gavin Clarke's new band, with Ali Friend and Ted Barnes. Lyrically Clarke has gone from strength to strength since his Sunhouse debut, and while the Clayhill sound is still pared down it is even richer and more immersive than Sunhouse. The Clayhill mix of urban acoustic musing and a working knowledge of electronica deserves to be huge - hopefully the band's appearance at Glastonbury this year will start them on the road to that. Catch them live if you can - hearing Gavin sing live is one of the few life-affirming experiences you can have in public.