REVIEW: AV Super Sunshine — The Neighborhood (SINGLE)
Irrepressible and always brimming with creative ideas, AV Super Sunshine’s track record since his 2015 debut is nothing short of spellbinding. His vibrant musical imagination has spawned an assortment of indie hits, without a doubt, but he’s extended his reach into the mainstream musical world far more than many indie peers and contemporaries. The Wisconsin native is a genuine crossover phenomenon. His musical DNA is never one-dimensional. The typical AV Super Sunshine release comes in a variety of mixes and his latest single “The Neighborhood” is no exception. He’s released the single in two forms — one is a hard-hitting rock anthem while the second is an EDM driven take on the song. It’s reflective of the elasticity of his songwriting.
The ”rock” version of “The Neighborhood” jettisons many of the genre’s standard tropes. Make no mistake, AV Super Sunshine flexes genuine rock muscle during this performance, but the song is never in bulldozer mode. Instead, AV provides the track ample room to breathe and its musicality, moreover its melody, is never in question. There’s power and spry dexterity present in equal measure throughout “The Neighborhood”.
Newcomers will enjoy AV’s rock voice. It’s wide open, brimming with attitude and personality, and comports itself well against the sonic backdrop. He doesn’t have a wide range, but he doesn’t need one. The confidence you hear emanating from his voice is enough and it occupies the lower end of the vocal register with sturdy phrasing. He’s a skillful singer, however, despite his evident lack of range and you can hear that in the emotional variations he seizes upon throughout the course of the song.
The pop/EDM take on the song dazzles with its battery of synthesizers and sequencers. It’s propelled by pre-programmed percussion that maintains metronomic consistency from beginning to end. A frequent complaint about such instrumentation dating back to its introduction into popular music is its cold, sterilized sound compared to much more traditional instruments. You won’t find any of that here, however. The aforementioned synthesizers, keyboards, et al, generate genuine warmth and round out the sound of the track nicely.
The EDM version highlights AV’s voice even more than the rock cut. It likewise gives the performance much more of a theatrical quality missing from the rock version. Drawing further attention to his vocals also shines a brighter light than ever on the lyrical content and that’s not a bad thing. No one will confuse AV Super Sunshine for being some sort of poet, but he nevertheless writes with unquestionable intelligence and artistic economy.
AV Super Sunshine’s “The Neighborhood” is another resounding triumph for this exceptional performer and songwriter. His list of accolades and achievements will grow longer and, no doubt, his fan base will further expand on the back of this winning single. He’s still laboring under the radar of mainstream music through no fault of his own and it is singles such as this that will push him ever closer to widespread musical renown. It is well deserved and long overdue.