Recorded during the same sessions for their second EP, this third release from Dutch power poppers Sunday Sun finishes a trilogy of EPs released throughout 2012. While that second EP wasn’t quite as strong as the first, this final part makes up for any previous minor disappointments, delivering the band’s strongest set of songs. Those who took an instant liking to Sunday Sun’s previous work will be pleased to note that ‘III’ offers no musical curveballs or surprises… As such, it’s less important to go into any lengthy details here – everything you need to know about this band has likely already been said. In a nutshell, though, this third EP takes the band’s strongest elements and – if anything – improves on them, giving the listener seven slices of near-perfect pop.
The most instant “hit” comes from ‘Better Than That’, a track featuring lavish pop harmonies, crisp sounding guitars and tinkling glockenspiels. It takes everything you’ve loved about Sunday Sun’s prior work and turns it up to eleven, perhaps showing a strong love of Fountains of Wayne in the process. Almost as good, ‘Light Up The Sky’ at first sounds like it’s going to be a little different, with a strong focus on tinkling pianos. It’s not long, though, before a very strong rhythm section reinstates their beloved rumpty-tumpty marching beat (as heard on ‘Sunday Sun’) and the band drop into the kind of pop they could write (and possibly perform) in their sleep. ‘Sing’ is a sugary number which includes another upfront bass part (expertly played by Jan Teerstra) against ringing guitars worthy of many 60s Merseybeat recordings and a hook delivered with a world of Teenage Fanclub-esque harmonies. The wordless “woo-ooo’s!” are maybe a little unnecessary, but considering all other elements here are superb, the track still works brilliantly.
The rest of ‘III’ is very good, despite Sunday Sun’s insistence on sticking rigidly to the kind of pop at which they’ve previously excelled. The semi-acoustic ‘Beating Low’ offers another slight 60s influence, more great harmonies and a lovely simple chorus; ‘Honest & True’ melds a doo-wop vibe with some perfect power pop chords, a strong lead vocal and ‘Imagination’ mixes dreamy keyboard chords, marching beats and bell percussion, topping them off with harmonies culled straight from the Beach Boys school of vocalising. While never thinking outside of the box in terms of arrangement, it is guaranteed these tunes won’t take too long to get right under the skin…
Ending this release, ‘White Is All I See’ is a wistful acoustic number, where natural sounding vocals meet a string section to create something showing a more emotional side to the band’s sound than ever before. Whereas Sunday Sun’s earlier attempt at acoustic gentleness (the first EP’s ‘How Come I Miss You So Much’) ended up being little more than filler material, this is fully formed and well orchestrated and, as a result, more sophisticated. It’s a fine way to bring this trilogy of releases to a close.
Sunday Sun’s EP trilogy comprises eighteen songs in all, most of which are incredibly fine examples of sun-filled power pop. Had the band trimmed the selection down and issued their best twelve/thirteen tracks as a full-length LP, that LP would have been one of the greatest power pop debuts ever – up there with Jellyfish’s ‘Bellybutton’. As it is, all three EPs are very good indeed, but ‘III’ outshines them all.