The Czech Republic's Sunshine sheds light on how to commit mainstream suicide. 

A Ray of Originality

The best thing about listening to Sunshine (a Czech band, not Richmond's Sunnshine) is that its music sounds fresh and honest. Good music should surprise you when you hear it.

Sunshine's music does. It comes out of left field like Beck and like Scotland's The Beta Band. Not because Sunshine sounds like either, but because the band sounds unique. Most likely because the music is made to please the creators, which always works better than trying to guess what others want.

It helps that Sunshine is good at standing out — they play Twisters Monday, Oct. 23. Two stripped-down rock songs open their latest full-length CD, "Velvet Suicide." Those are followed by a gritty, layered industrial number, a swelling, melancholy new-wave ballad, and, in short, a different approach on nearly every song. There are odd samples, a hip-hop flavored intro, keyboard surges and many other unexpected diversions. Definitely not ready for a format.

"Each song has a similar point," says guitarist and singer Kay, "but that's what we want ... to use all good influences and put together something new, and that's the reason each song sounds different."

Joy Division, "that's a really important influence," Kay says. "So is early Cure and Gary Numan." Kay also cites his experience with art-rock bands like Clikatat Ikatowi.

"We started out as a traditional hardcore band but we kind of lost that influence," he says. "I don't think it's totally different, in Czech, lots of influences of late '80s and late punk rock, it's coming back ... not just in the U.S.

Kay says he writes in English because it is a more melodic language, but admits that his word combinations often result in enigmatic concepts.

As with their music, you can tell that Kay, bassist/keyboardist Martin and drummer Daniel pick their lyrics without restraint, resulting in intriguing titles like "Porn Orchid," "Moon Love Gravity" and "Dope Driver Called 'Virgin Boom.'"

"It's a really weird mixture of the Czech stuff and the weird English," Kay says. "It's not really concrete things, just imagination or stuff like that. Most of them is just personal things about the world all over. Also, just a little bit of sarcasm and black humor."

"The most important thing," Kay adds, "is that the album just be enjoyed. Maybe that sounds kind of weird, because most of the songs sound kind of like, depressive. But I don't think they are, you know? That's the point of why we play in a band, because we enjoy just being on tour, and recording ... I think that's the point of what we try to put out through the songs."

Being excited about what you're doing — that's success. "We couldn't like, change the mind of people," Kay says. "[We] just try to start a good feel with the show and stuff like that."


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