Last week, Corner Brook folk-rock favourites Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case released their long-awaited second album The Sun In Your Eyes. Coming four long years after the release of their debut record Honey For Bees, this new album has a much fuller and polished sound than Downey’s previous offering. For fans of the band, there likely won’t be too many surprises here, but the group does a nice job of putting a fresh spin on tunes that they have been playing live for a while.
The Sun In Your Eyes boasts ten songs that tell tales of love and heartbreak, law breaking bandits, and fabled pro-Soviet dancers, all wrapped up in a catchy and folky style. While it is still very much a Sherman Downey album, this batch of tunes displays a development in the group’s sound, and the growth of Downey’s songwriting.
The Ambiguous Case incorporate some new influences on this record as well, and avail of a more diverse and advantageous instrumentation than the band’s previous offering. Among the usual toe-tappin’ folky grooves, the new album brings in some more honky tonk country and rock n’ roll style to the band’s sound. The addition of tasteful horn and string sections at various points throughout the album also fill out the sound and make for an interesting listen.
The Sun In Your Eyes has a familiar, consistent vibe from beginning to end, with plenty of upbeat folk songs, rock grooves, and the occasional waltz. “Thick as Thieves” is an early standout, with its raw piano introduction that builds in to a poppy groove with a great horn section, reaching its peak with fun gang vocals and handclaps. The brooding and emotional “All That You Hate”, with its lush strings and beautiful accordian line, really shines as a slower waltz on an album of toe-tappers.
This new offering from Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case is a fun, catchy listen that will have you singing Downey’s lyrics all day long, while tapping and clapping right along. Though some tunes may be quite familiar to fans and followers of the band, The Sun In Your Eyes provides nice new versions of these songs, and the band have taken a few creative chances with the additions of strings and horns. All in all, this new album is a good collection that’s worth a listen.
If you’d like to pick up The Sun In Your Eyes, it’s available in Corner Brook at Brewed Awakening locations, JL Gallery, Island Treasures, HM Audio, Gary Bennett Music, in St. John’s at Fred’s Records or O’Brien’s Music, and online via iTunes.