February 21–28, 2002
The Sunshine Fix
There’s a scene in the movie Birthday Girl in which Ben Chaplin’s character, a staid but likable bank teller, is driving his cute little European car, sunglasses on, blasting "Age of the Sun," the title track from The Sunshine Fix’s new album. We’re right at the apex of the song, at its full, sunshiny best, when Chaplin kills his ignition and pulls into his driveway. Five bucks says the Sunshine Fix (a.k.a. Bill Doss, once of The Olivia Tremor Control) wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. An appetite was whetted; an album was purchased. Make what you want of a guy who’s taken to calling himself "The Bill Doss," but this is someone in love with musical instruments. Ever since Olivia Tremor Control emerged from its cubist castle, giving birth to the Elephant 6 phenomenon, Doss has wanted to create surreal landscapes and soundtracks to unmade movies. Now, with The Sunshine Fix, it seems that choosing a subject like the sun — literally — was the focus he had been looking for all along.
While a little of OTC’s psychedelic pop — the familiar hyper-trippy lyrics and reverbing guitar — seeps through, Age of the Sun (Emperor Norton/ Kindercore) is awash in choral harmonies and dramatic swells that ground the effort. Not that the album isn’t a hell of a lot of fun: The funk-and-groove breakdowns and enthusiastic, heart-stopping drumming, not to mention the remarkable range of vocal styles, are more than refreshing. There are clicks and claps and cymbal crashes, voices that chime and fade, and between-song interludes that reprise themselves with different tempos and instrumentation. To accomplish all this, Doss gets help from players from like-minded Emperor Norton/Kindercore bands such as Essex Green, Of Montreal and Japancakes, but has said he turned to Curtis Mayfield and Les Paul for inspiration. With his silk vests and Willy Wonka-like sensibilities, The Bill Doss is a character. Which might be exactly what rock needs right now.
Fri., Feb. 22, 9:30 p.m., $8, with The Jane Anchor, Mates of State and This Radiant Boy, The Khyber, 56 S. Second St., 215-238-5888.