I never really liked the phrase “blue-eyed soul”, but if someone epitomizes that particular genre, it has to be Al Sunny. Two years after his very short (26 minutes) debut album “Time To Decide”, the French singer, guitarist and composer has now released “Planets” on the French Favorite Recordings label which was also responsible for Lucas Arruda’s “Onda Nova”.
Starting off with some “Love TKO”-like guitar riffs on “How Does It Feel”, Al’s falsetto vocals slowly and gently glide through the perfectly-produced opener. Things get a little funkier on “If You Heart”, with Al’s sympathetic accent shining through from time to time. Eschewing too many repetitions in the chorus here, the track thrives with some chunky guitar and key licks. Pieces like “You And I” brim over with positivity, bright spots and good mood.
I can’t help but think about late 60s, early 70s hippie vibes when I listen to “Should I”, insinuating those feel-good memories with some wonderful backing vocal arrangement and a guitar driven fade-out which veers towards hypnosis. My favorite cut at the moment is the extremely catchy and hook-laden “A Million Miles Away”. This is the perfect piece of contemporary pop music which even comes with the right amount of suspense in the bridge and some thick key pads toward the end of this superb five-minute wonder.
A very raw-sounding, in-your-face “If You Lose Me” continues this highly entertaining set. “Colored Smile” unfolds its real beauty toward the end of the piece, with ethereal backing vocals and warm electric keyboard and synth stabs turning this into another real gem. The quasi-instrumental title track reminds me of some of the best Far Out material by Marcos Valle and “Song For Two” wraps up this extraordinary collection of on-point executed pop songs.
Thankfully, the guys at Favorite Recordings have put this out on vinyl as a deluxe LP in Tip-On sleeve.