REVIEW: AV Super Sunshine feat. Tommy Tutone — “X-File (8675309”

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AV Super Sunshine has experienced considerable success after first emerging on the scene several years ago and has attracted a variety of top-notch admirers such as Lady Gaga, among others. No two singles from this artist are alike; Sunshine will pursue a pure rock sound during one recording while aiming in a more electronic direction with the next and sounds equally convincing. There’s never any sense of him straining for effect; the two mixes released for his latest single “X File: 8675309” come across naturally and unforced. AV Super Sunshine has long since established a well-deserved reputation as someone unafraid to challenge listeners’ expectations and this wont is in full-effect on the new single.

Sunshine has released the single in two different mixes. The first mix is likely intended for radio and other platforms, though it is never labelled as such. It has a running time of over four minutes, but the focus driving this recording of the track makes those four minutes fly by for listeners. There are an assortment of instruments making their presence felt during the first mix and even some listeners might find the recording too cluttered for its own good; it is likely more will be impressed by the layered musical attack we hear from the first mix. Michael Bradford’s production is all important in helping Sunshine achieve such results.

Unexpected touches come with the dance remix. It begins with a smattering of piano, but the track soon ramps up into an up-tempo electronic heavy performance. The relentless pulse in the heart of this remix gives Sunshine a strong rhythmic base for a six minute plus re-interpretation of this song. It is much longer than the first mix, but Sunshine deserves kudos for never exhausting listener’s attention. The dramatic edge he brings to his vocal performances in both mixes bears mentioning, but it’s particularly potent during the dance mix. Newcomers will enjoy the slightly breathy emphasis he gives some lines. There’s ample emotion in his vocals, as well, and the deliberate delivery he adopts for the dance mix provides a sharp contrast with its brisk pace.

AV Super Sunshine has been making individualistic and first-class modern music for a few years now. He may, for now, work along the edges of widespread recognition, but his recent releases attest to the growing scope of his vision and the continuing value of his creative partnership with producer Michael Bradford. It is not often when two talented musicians are on the proverbial same page with one another like this tandem. The two mixes for AV Super Sunshine’s latest single “X File: 8675309” show how Bradford understands how to best frame the Wisconsin based songwriter’s ideas. It is no stretch to imagine them continuing this connection for many more years to come.

We have Tommy Tutone’s vocalist Tommy Heath to thank for this. If he hadn’t expressed his desire to hear a modern artist make new use of the master recording for “867–5309/Jenny” hook in a modern recording, former manager Stephen Wrench wouldn’t have the idea of putting a bug in AV Super Sunshine’s ear. Finding the right fit for this proved key and few listeners will think Wrench could have done better. AV Super Sunshine and Michael Bradford breathe fresh life into this venerable hook for a new generation.

Colin Jordan

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