[sic] Magazine

Sunshine Playroom – Melancholy Melodies & Stolen Memories

'Melancholy Melodies & Stolen Memories' by Sunshine Playroom

The follow-up to last year’s debut release ‘The Old Railway Track’ has arrived, and it’s fair to say that once again, Greg Wye AKA Sunshine Playroom has been busy trawling through archives of sound snippets from our childhoods.

On this outing, the vibe is slightly different, and there are memorable voices from decades ago which pepper each of the tracks.  Included are quotes from staples of ’70s TV, such as Joanna Lumley, Bernard Cribbins, and Michael Rodd.

Additionally, the subject matter digs deeper into domestic and political events, particularly on both “Equality and Equitity”, and also “The Economy”, with a detour en-route for Sunlight soap.

The most prominent thing I’ve taken away after auditioning this album is that the music sounds like it could have existed for decades.  It’s almost impossible to explain to somebody that this is a release from 2024, let alone 1974, such is the affectionate job Greg has done in creating the sounds across this album.  The bulk of the music was created using a MicroKorg synthesiser, with a Korg Volca Drum, some drum break samples, and the aforementioned sample snippets of vintage TV programmes.

The way that the tracks are weaved together is particularly clever.  There’s a mini commercial towards the end of the first track which neatly leads us into the mild peril of “The Economy”, which touches on issues not unfamiliar with people in 2024, namely the cost of living, inflation, and house prices.  There’s a kind of mild peril in the music which transports us back to the days of early synths, as aptly demonstrated back in the ’70s on BBC’s Tomorrow’s World programme.

“Something Odd (Is Happening)” is a standout track, for several reasons… when electronic equipment started becoming mainstream in the ’70s, there were sometimes “undocumented features” (i.e. issues!!) which raised their heads, usually after the customer had left the store with the new product.  New gadgets were regularly being introduced into the marketplace, which remains the case today, although in those days there was no internet or “firmware download” option to resolve reported issues, of course.  There’s something else about this track, however, which is that it has a playful, experimental side, not dissimilar from some of the tracks on ‘Dazzle Ships’ by OMD.

Elsewhere, “Do You Live In A Town?” has the narrator inform us about the virtues of living in a location where there are lots of buildings, cars, buses and lorries, plus a shopping area.  It’s a nostalgic trip which examines town planning, and emerging ideas, such as pedestrian precincts.

There’s something rather special about this album.  Particularly for those of us who love to reminisce on our childhoods, it’s a little sprinkling of colour to awaken our memories.

~Melancholy Melodies & Stolen Memories is out now on limited-edition CD via Persephonic Audio.~

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