reviewed by Laura Stanley
Right from the fitting squeak of a door that starts off the album, Sunsplitter, a new folk/country band from Toronto, transport you away from the bustling city to the slower, more sit-on-your front-porch, relaxed life in the countryside.
Musically inspired by the obvious, Neil Young, and the not so obvious, drunken gamblers and kitchen silhouettes, the nine songs that make up Gone Years LP are country rooted with a trifecta of harmonic, fiddle, and banjo all warmly included in the various arrangements.
On just the first listen, lead vocalist Dylan Todhunter alone makes Sunsplitter an interesting new band. With a rich throwback countryish voice, he adds another dimension to songs like “Blackwater Girl” and the standout “Powerlines.”
“Where is my momma now that I’m older,” sings Todhunter in the standout song. Sturdy verses, a catchy chorus, a blistering guitar solo, and a rambling beat throughout, “Powerlines” is a real winner.
Sunsplitter though doesn’t just end with a great frontman, the additional vocals from Keri Kauffman, clearly heard in the dynamic opener, “Long Time Sorrower,” and full-band harmonies throughout also have obvious appeals.
As previously mentioned, the first song from Gone Years LP “Long Time Sorrower” is a powerhouse. At over five minutes, “Long Time Sorrower” introduces Sunsplitter to listeners as a full, talented, and optimistic sounding band. The later track, “Oh My” is another full song, showing off the band’s harmonies and continuing with a very hopeful sound – the fiddle in both songs doesn’t hurt the upbeat feeling either.
In contrast to the more cheerful side of Sunsplitter, “Bad Moon” and “Last Darkening Days” are two darker notes from the record. The latter song, “Last Darkening Days”, is a shorter one compared to some of the album but is still able to create a dark mood with primarily a guitar and fiddle collaboration. “Last Darkening Days” also ushers in the all instrumental song, “The Plains That Burned and Bled.” A less country and more folk-rock song, compared to where they started, Sunsplitter move to a moody side by the end of Gone Years LP.
Bringing with them a rich brand of folk/country music, Sunsplitter have put together a very solid debut record with Gone Years LP.
Gone Years LP is available on Bandcamp.
Sunsplitter is playing tonight at Rancho Relaxo in Toronto.
Top Tracks: “Long Time Sorrower,” “Powerlines”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)