First of all, I think Sunset Rollercoaster is a great name - evocative & poetic, romantic & thrilling. Second of all, I've seen them in action, and that, too is great. Fiery & passionate - exactly what you want from a live performance. And now how about their debut CD? Can they go 3-for-3?
No one can deny that the album's first song - Bomb of Love - is a blatant Lou Reed rip-off, but at the same time, no one can say that paying tribute to Lou Reed with copycat compositions isn't good fun. Who can blame them? I myself have written decidedly Lou Reed knock-offs. Heck, even Alice Cooper and David Bowie, to name just a few, have done it. It is virtually a rite of passage, even for rock stars in their prime.
A rite of passage is also a test, and here our boys have passed swimmingly, proving themselves as able students of the master. Bomb of Love builds to vibrato-saturated solo atop a catchy chorus. And then? Song number two, No Man's Land, dishes out more sounds from the Velvet Underground cookbook.
But Sunset Rollercoaster is more than a VU wannabe, and deeper than their retro-inflections. With a bit of a bounce, Hogi Hogi La La Jo leads us down a path to different yet cohesive styles. Pinky Pinky has a classic garage bite.Blues is pretty much just that, blues rock on the heavy side. No Man's Land (Reprise) and A Little Piece of Sadness reveal a band confident and playful. The smooth love of I Know You Know I Love You lolls about easily like a long summer night. My Monday Throne turns jazzy with trombones gliding to a satisfying conclusion. It is evident they greatly enjoy what they're doing, and they readily pass their delight on to anyone within hearing distance.
At first, I didn't understand the choice of the album's title, Bossa Nova, until I considered the word 'bossa' suggests a natural charm and talent. As well, a literal reading of 'bossa nova' itself could be rendered as 'the cool, new thing." And there we have it, a perfect description of Sunset Rollercoaster and their pleasant debut: charming, cool, and the essential new thing for your playlists.