Matthew Onn and Natasha Broadhurst have been making music together for just over a year and, having worked solidly since then under their musical aliases Sunny and Boo-Boo, they’ve now released their debut album Finding Love, and it certainly is a testament to the work that’s been put in. Their list of band interests ranges from cooking to gardening, and their influences give credit to Bob Dylan, The Antlers, and even manage a nod to Jay-Z. But, in spite of all this, rather than being folk rappers playing in the background of River Cottage, they have combined it into raucous banjo-led tracks and stripped-back songs, coming together in an album with enough variety to ensure that no music fan is left discontented.
The first minute of opener Whipped Back draws you in like a theme park’s psychedelic tunnel of love before opening out into a haunting echo, as the pair build to a riotous peak of harmonies. This song, as if made of three parts, then breaks into a quite vibrant outro and really sets the benchmark for this album’s creative and experimental edge. But before there is time for reflection, the surprisingly bouncy Donnie Darko breaks in, and with its rural imagery and upbeat plod, it really feels like Sunny and Boo-Boo are taking you on a silver-lined adventure through the wilderness. And in case their interest in wildlife had escaped you, The Garden then offers up a leisurely, languorous trip consisting of calming banjo plucks and soothing emotion.
Something that becomes more and more obvious as this album goes on is that the tracks are not only wonderfully diverse, but that they fit together so that the resonant, intimate songs such as Hemingway and James Joyce balance the gritty, rock and roll tinted Shut The Fuck Up and country-laden narrative Man With A Frown. The seamless mesh of poignant organs and beautiful vocals alongside harmonica melodies and toe-tapping banjo is as enthralling as their ability to mention two of literature’s greatest minds, Alexander Pope’s poetry and mermaids on the same back catalogue.
Finding Love is like entering some sort of dreamscape, in which you cheerfully stride through soothing, pastoral scenes, ethereal, buzzing atmospheres and hoe-down style numbers. The variety of instruments and techniques they explore keeps this album fresh with each listen, and immerses you to the point of no return. It’s rare to find a debut that is full of such passionate, quirky and intelligent tracks, and from a couple with such a brilliantly summery name, it is refreshing to hear such sincere and dark emotion. With all the ups, downs and quiet beauty, finding Sunny and Boo-Boo really is like finding love.