“From the first moment I heard an Abi Evans’ project, many moons ago, I knew I was dealing with a truly eclectic spirit. Like any decent magpie, she is attracted to the shiniest of things, no matter their original source. At times confounding, sometimes disorientating but always enthralling – she’s made a habit of putting together broad, expansive musical collaborations that are hard to pinpoint, but impossible to ignore.
So when I received a review copy of the Mr Sunshine EP, I already some idea that I should leave my preconceived notions about what music I might hear by the backdoor and submit to the experience without prejudice. It wasn’t long before I realised that the goalposts had moved again….
For as well as this being a brilliantly inventive EP, with twists and turns in every tune, it has been coupled with some outstanding playing, beautiful layers of deftly put together vocal harmony and a wide, cinematic mix. But here’s the real twist. Even though the EP dances with influences including gypsy jazz, country and western, African folk music, party tunes of the roaring 1920’s and a big dollop of Americana – it, somehow, always manages to sound cohesive, focused and strangely unique. I can neither put my finger on it or categorise it, yet it is utterly recognisable from beat 1 of every track.
I don’t know what else to say. I can’t even pick out a favourite track. This week it is Lack of Tact, with it’s witty lyrics and quirky melody – but it will change, as it has for the last month of listening. All I know is that my iPod has often found itself whirring towards these tunes and many of which have already joined numerous playlists entitled with names like morning tunes, fun stuff and Saturday mix. If you like your music eclectic to the point of dizzying, look for wit and warmth in lyrics and want to hear players sounding like they are having the time of their lives, this EP should be winging its way on to your iPod too.”
Adam Pain (Academy of Contemporary Music)
“Lunatrix just have…it. Amazingly, the band have been going for less than 9 months, and have already accomplished more than most bands do in two years: a solid, high-octane set, for one, a fabulous collection of songs for another, and their own idiosyncratic style to cap it off. Plastered with trumpet solos, innuendo and jazz guitar fit for Monty Alexander, Las Vegas came to Guildford tonight, and brought Chicago’s friends.
‘Mr Sunshine’s wiggly jiggles mingled together a love for hooks, tremolo-picking and the bass solo, gluing all these elements together to form their own brand of jazz/funk/ska, and their colourful set even included a cover of ‘Hakuna Matata’, which, it is safe to say, left the room in an un-believing state of awe.
Vocalist Abi Evans and backing singer Kristy Poulton have voices that seem born for each other, the backing vocals weren’t overstated, just placed correctly and effectively, and reinforced the cabaret feel of the set – it was sensuous, subtle, sublime. Nearly faultless.
The entire band’s performance was a masterclass of genre-bending and a spectacle of originality, and having already garnered a very strong following in their short time on the scene, this band are destined for great things…great things peppered with sideways hats, two-tone corsets and a let’s-make-trumpets-sexy-again outlook in a scene bereft of originality.
This band are a must see, and deserve five stars, even though I’m currently void of any official scoring system…”
“Here in the UK, spring is taking its sweet time in joining us. However, just as the first rays of sunlight tentatively poke through the clouds we already have cause to dance around like it’s scorching hot outside thanks to Guildfordian gypsy swing sextet Lunatrix and their debut EP, appropriately entitled Mr Sunshine. A set of five finely crafted, bouncy, and engaging songs chock full of tasteful guitars, driving drums, and flamboyant trumpet licks, the Mr Sunshine EP is the perfect soundtrack to your summer, even if it hasn’t technically started yet. And by the time you’re sweltering in the park or chilling out on a moonlit beach, you’ll be well-practiced in singing along to the faultless vocals of Abi Evans and Kristy Poulton as they discus life, love, and…well…grabbing men’s arses, apparently.”
The Musical Futurist