Sunrise, Please Don’t Set
The major label (Lava) debut of John Butler Trio’s Sunrise Over Sea is a musical maven. Included in the thirteen tracks are guitars, banjos, basses, 12-strings, and lapsteel guitars. The trio’s mainly acoustic sound is so rich, you’d think there were a dozen members. Sounding at times like Ben Harper, the treasure of the album is the accentuation of select notes within the music and the way the pieces all fits together.The hit that you may have heard, “Zebra,” includes upbeat tempos and optimistic lyrics. “Mist” showcases their guitar abilities, often sounding like something you’d hear at a true Irish pub. Softer sounds are injected into tracks like “Peaches and Cream” with often incomprehensible folk lyrics. The only disappointment is the lead track, “Treat Your Mama.” The rappin’ lyrics about Mother Nature grant flashbacks to the icky feelings experienced while listening to the Gourds “Gin and Juice” after hearing Snoop’s version.
First prize on this album clearly goes to “What You Want,” a love-sick ballad. Overlapped by an orchestra, drawn out guitar strumming ensues, emphasizing such intense emotion that you will wish your guitar was at hand. Every piece to this song fits. The instrumental solos and the lyrical gaps fit with the flow; the lyrical intonation included in the harmony between John Butler and bassist Shannon Birchall is subtle but touching, and the lyrics themselves are heartfelt at worst. “I’m just as cold and numb as you.” Sunrise Over Sea is worth purchasing if only for this one song (although it is included on their 2004 EP What You Want as well).