Sunshine Factory makes happy, beach-friendly music

By Emma Kilcup

Unplugged & Remixed EP

Sunshine… Unplugged & Remixed EP

Sunshine Factory

Culdesac Kids

Grade: B+

Rocks like: Collaboration of Elliott Smith and Muse

Sunshine Factory’s Beach Boy-inspired music sounds happy enough to be performed by the Muppets, but the result is not “Sesame Street.”

Band members Corey Judge, Jordan Judge, John Karwoski and Tony Hammons implemented a vintage 1960s piano donated by the Beach Boys along with lo-fi gear to bring listeners their latest, Unplugged & Remixed EP.

Following a seven-inch vinyl of the song “Lower Away,” which was released in December, the newest set provides alternative styles. Whereas the original “Lower Away” has an instrumental and vocal balance, the newest songs choose to showcase either musical embellishments or simple accompaniment. The combination of plugged-in and unplugged leaves something to be desired.

In the electric songs, the lead singer has a whiney tone to his voice, though he’s perfectly tolerable in the acoustic versions. That same kind of mismatch makes for an album that’s not very cohesive.

Included in the five-track release are two versions of song “Lower Away,” one an unplugged version and one remixed by Chloroform Days. “Lower Away (unplugged)” highlights a classic piano melody, which fits well with Corey Judge crooning lyrics like,”Could we have been friends if things hadn’t turned so bad in the end?” Although melancholy, the combination is complementary and the piano brings out the ballad-esque charm. Another acoustic song, “Faux Real,” has a similar effect as the tune soothes while the lyrics lament.

Chloroform’s remix of “Lower Away” bears a much different result. It seems that the singer has been lamenting over a failed relationship. The song resembles an acid trip as psychedelic sounds introduce a woman’s voice presenting names of colors in Spanish followed by an echo of “lower away” leading the listener to a pleasant piano tune. Distorted pedals and soft percussion provide even more vision-inducing elements.

The two almost-live songs on the list, “Little Bridges” and “Cassini,” offer sounds that are reminiscent of summer. The optimistic melody and playful voice in “Little Bridges” sounds like the soundtrack to a day on the beach. The lyrics, “If not now then when?” seem urgent but still, the music is very calm and laid back.

“Cassini,” although comparably laid back in terms of voice and the bass beat, introduces various layers that require more focus to avoid getting lost in the noise fuzz. A whipping sound whirls around softly sung lyrics like, “Come with me and bring your camera lens / you’ve got things to see before this voyage ends.” By the end, an energetic guitar solo distracts the listener from completing the journey that will take a couple more listens to fully explore.

Unplugged and Remixed EP is available as a free download through the band’s record label, Culdesac Kids.