By The Ruby Suns
Let's face it... any band on the roster of indie giant Sub Pop is usually pretty special and The Ruby Suns prove that they're no exception to the rule. The 2nd album from this New Zealand based trio, Sea Lion is largely inspired by travel and a strong passion for the natural world.
Despite obvious comparisons with the likes of Panda Bear, Animal Collective (and a Californian-born frontman in Ryan McPhun) The Ruby Suns aren't just another Brian Wilson spin-off. Sea Lion displays an astonishing sense of cultural diversity. Whether the band try their hand at flamenco, psych-folk, or more African based material they manage to pull it off with conviction and class.
All manner of percussive elements, brass, wind, guitar, autoharp, synthesisers and the 60's psychedelic harmonies all contribute towards a sound which is complex, colourful, imaginative and worldly. Take the hypnotic danceable rhythms in "Oh Mojave" or "Tane Mahuta", the magical "There are birds" which gives us an insight to what Arcade Fire might sound like if they recorded with The Beach Boys or the autoharp/ guitar face off in "Adventure Tour", ultimately, there are many highlights to be enjoyed.
With travel right at the heart of the album, it's no surprise to find that Sea Lion is a musical adventure all in itself. Rest assured, this is one album that will feature heavily in "best records of year" lists. Get on it immediately.