Sun Bones: Sentinel Peak (Self-Released)

This remarkable local band—formerly known as Boreas—was voted best up-and-coming artist in last year's Tucson Area Music Awards (aka the TAMMIES), and this new full-length CD delivers on that promise.

Sun Bones have the uncanny ability to play in many different styles, as is evidenced in their frantic in-concert performances. This CD comes pretty darn close to capturing that live energy. A comforting, traditionalist sensibility comes from borrowing melodies and structure from the Beatles and the Beach Boys, but this is tweaked with avant-garde tendencies. This best-of-both-worlds approach works at its smoothest and most appealing on tracks such as "Las Aguas" and "Kite String."

Vaguely hallucinatory effects are in evidence on such gripping tracks as "Love Letter," "Jerusalem" and "Undertow," each of which creates a different kind of trancelike environment. One of my favorites is the slow-building "Tunnel Howl," which recalls the avant-pop of early Talking Heads.

This sort of art-school embrace of melody and noise—with luscious vocal harmonies, multipart songs and oft-changing tempos—might test the patience of some listeners used to basic three-minute pop songs. But Sun Bones pull it off with killer chops and a charming, devilish attitude.

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