Sunshine Riot is a band name that at first elicits a bit of head scratching. “Sunshine” of course calls to mind the bubbly, the cheerful, the happy, while “riot” suggests chaos and aggression. Yet somehow, the four-piece band that hails from Boston and lays claim to this name brings cohesion and weight to this apparent paradox, drawing on the tension between light and dark, structure and disorder to create truly unique, genre-defying music.
“Better Days,” off their upcoming album, Black Coffee Sigh (due out January 13), is a perfect example, a nuanced track at once gritty, bittersweet and raw while also anthemically uplifting and hopeful. Like the rest of their music, it straddles genre lines, weaving together elements of rock, country and blues, while building unmistakably through thick, layered instrumentation into its sing-along chorus.
Singer Jonny Orton’s plaintive, soulful voice is underscored by a gorgeous, wailing violin which melds into Jeffrey Sullivan’s bass, Mark Tetreault’s killer guitar and Shakes Tvelia’s pounding drums. Taken as a whole, the song draws to mind the rasping playfulness and ambling melodies of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the easy, freewheeling storytelling of Tom Petty.
“Better Days” is a perfect antidote to the post-holiday letdown and unrelenting winter chill, because when Sunshine Riot tells you, “better days are up ahead,” you can’t help but believe them. Check out the track below (then catch them live here).