Authentic West Coast sound from the West Coast of England
I first discovered Kontiki Suite when they appeared at the SummerTyne Festival in Gateshead last Summer and they instantly won me over with their Byrds influenced take on the West Coast sound.
Men of a ‘certain age’ will immediately pooh-pooh Kontiki Suite because they really do wear their influences on their (buckskin fringed sleeves); but this sound never did Buffalo Springfield, Big Star or Teenage Fanclub any harm.
Every song on the album is full of sun drenched harmonies, organs, mellatrons plus a Rickenbacker and 6-string jingle-jangle guitars and even some delightful string arrangements, all conjuring up a Summer of Love that the band are far too young to know anything about.
With not a single bad track on the album I really have to have my arm twisted to find highlights for you; but See You In The Morning (Elwood’s Theme)is a perfect example of the Kontiki Suit ‘sound’ with a mystical Eastern guitar winding its way through a delicious slice of Country Pop from Laurel Canyon and a story that will melt the hardest of hearts.
Now I’m picking and choosing my favourite songs Moonlight is especially gorgeous and appears to from the perspective of a parent bidding farewell to a grown up child; which, if it is the case is a neat twist as a love song.
If I have one disappointment it’s that Open Up and Smile doesn’t even break the two minute barrier which is such a shame as the hook and melody are as infectious as nicotine and had me desperately wanting more. The same can’t be said of Magic Carpet Ride which comes in at a whopping 8 minutes 30 but not one second is wasted on this wonderfully meandering song that bares absolutely nothing in common with the Steppenwolf song of the same name (mercifully).
Like the very best of records; ON SUNSET LAKE can be listened to on several levels; obviously as charming ‘background music’; or on headphones while sitting on public transport; or (my preference) as the soundtrack to a VW Camper van trip to the beach as the sun is setting and the love of your life is sitting next to you, holding your hand.