The Sunshine Ponies : Mixtapes & Soundtracks
Ah, the quandary of love songs... how does one express the very phenomenon that brings us as much grief as delight?
A life necessity that bequeaths a hundred questions to each realised answer? The challenge of compiling a record dedicated to the subject would explain why Scott Thurling (owner of Popboomerang Records) and his partner Sarah Halligan placed their personal poems and lyrics in the hands of their talented musician friends. Hence, Mixtapes & Soundtracks is the transformation of 22 love poems into song – inadvertently giving birth to an indie-pop supergroup that Thurling and Halligan have named The Sunshine Ponies.
The record’s opening track, Sarah Sunshine – featuring Michael Carpenter and Jadey O’Regan – skips with the delightful euphoria of new-found love. Punctuated by sprightly keys, Carpenter’s emotive voice lends to one of the record’s most upbeat love odes. Recorded with electric guitar and delivered via spoken word, Chance Meeting – featuring Mildsparrow (aka Matt Davidson) – commentates extensively on all the awkward moments that mark the beginnings of infatuation or a blossoming relationship. Vicuna Coat’s Lucky Break is rendered affecting by Kat Winduss’ rich vocals and the wondrous instrumentation provided by her skilled band, while Ben Birchall’s Art Of Fighting soundtracks the more tumultuous times to an invigorating beat.
Brilliant Fanzine’s Matt O’Neill espouses a graceful wistfulness in side two’s opening track, Love Bus, and its follow-up – Danna’s Ballad Of The Blue Butterfly #2 – pairs imagery-soaked poetics with a beautiful orchestral accompaniment. The moving romanticism of Comeback – featuring Lazy Susan’s Paul Andrews – is a notable highlight, as is the detailed melancholic narrative of Broken Flight’s She Steps On All The Cracks.
D.Rogers and Emma Heeney deliver sublime hooks and sweet harmonies in If Our Days Are Numbered; Angie Hart and Bill McDonald create a gorgeously intimate ambient-pop composition with A Beautiful Mess; and Georgia Fields charms with her ukulele-driven ode, The Wishing Tree #2. Considering that Sarah Sunshine is easily the catchiest song on the record, it’s no surprise that it returns in shorter form before the glistening closing track, Lou Lou & Scotty (featuring The Triangles’ Kath and Rob Simpson).
For anyone who has lost their composure in front of their crush (that’s everyone) and those who have already found their soul mate (we’re evaporating in envy), The Sunshine Ponies is a delightful and relatable ode to the most frustrating and gratifying of life forces.