Uncle Jeff – The Sun Might Shine Bright

Written by Reza Mills

The Sun Might Shine Bright is the new EP from Uncle Jeff following last year’s It’s all about Blood and Thunder. Having now viewed the band twice live previously, I was now excited at the prospect of hearing whether they could translate the excitement of their live sound onto CD.

The EP contains 5 tracks with most of the songs being quite short and only reaching the 2-3 minute mark. The opener Roll on Holy Roller is an exception to the rule reaching six minutes and thus something of an epic number. The track starts by gradually building tension before exploding into a crescendo of sonic bombast. They manage to achieve this in the same way The Pixies did with their Quiet/Loud dynamics. There is also a progressive influence on the track not too dissimilar to Texas noise merchants …And you will know us by the trail of the dead. It is a good start to the EP though somewhat unrepresentative of the jangly indie-pop loveliness contained therein.

Second track Hailstorm Waltz has something of a Spaced-out Psychedelic feel about it, not too dissimilar to The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev. It is also more of an instrumental piece with very few vocals. What vocals are present are howled out by Stephen Hudson which remind me of Tom Bramhall from Ponies which is definitely no bad thing.

The title track is definitely one of the stand-outs on the EP and one of my favourite cuts. It is extremely catchy jangly Indie-pop with an optimistic tone and feel about it. I played it on my radio show on Monday and feel that were they to release a single than this should be the one. It is definately the most immediate song on the EP and grabs you by the throat from the off with its’ whimsical lyrics and catchy melody. The closest Uncle Jeff has come to a pure pop song dare I say.  I also detected a Wilco, Americana/Alt-Country undercurrent present as well, especially with the tracks ‘Cruel to be Kind’ (Which on first glance at the track listing I mistakenly took to be a Nick Lowe cover) and closing number Moon Landing. These also happen to be the more sombre numbers on the EP which help to counterbalance it beautifully with the happier poppier songs.

So addressing my earlier concern about the band being able to translate their bombastic live sound onto CD, I would say they’ve managed this and then some. It is an EP of contrasts with melancholy and optimism, noisy bombastic freak outs and catchy power-pop, the kind of which you could easily say hum in the bath. So well done to Stephen and the guys for creating this little gem and if you fancy catching them live again at least locally then you can see them at the Barn box all dayer at The Park Hotel on the 10th of October or if you can’t wait that long then take a trip to the Warton Playground Fundraiser on the 15th of August.

http://www.myspace.com/unclejeffmusic

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