The Sunburys are a svelte, energetic three-piece soul rock band from Brisbane, Australia, featuring Anthony Dettori (guitar, vocals), Scott Lapthorne (drums, percussion), Derek Haas (bass, backing vocals), and the occasional celebrity import.
As their name (referencing the legendary music festival) may suggest, The Sunburys sound evokes oldschool soul rock influences – from 40 years of British rock, American legends (Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Wilco) to great Australian songwriters like Tim Rogers, Paul Kelly, and Stevie Wright.
Deft songsmiths and gutsy performers, The Sunburys are a band of craft and character who rank substance over style and integrity over celebrity.
The Sunburys’ no-nonsense attitude and rock energy are evident on the band’s three studio albums, ‘Here Comes the Sunburys’ (2009), ‘Swings & Roundabouts’ (2010) and the new record, ‘Keep a Lid on It’ (2012). Each record was produced by Jeff Lovejoy at Blackbox, with an emphasis on capturing a fresh “live” sound with simple, clean arrangements.
Out mid-October, ‘Keep a Lid On It’ is a chocolate box of new tunes, encompassing everything from mellow acoustic alt-country stories to plucky mod rock anthems, all dripping in energy, attitude and intelligence.
The critics loved ‘Here Comes the Sunburys’:
“…A taut and powerful debut…. This is impressive.” – TOM Magazine.
“One simply couldn’t ask for a more finely constructed or intelligently balanced debut album.” – Time Off (4.5/5 stars).
“The new You Am I? Could be a thought.” – Rave Magazine.
…And ‘Swings & Roundabouts’:
“…An unpretentious, organic pop/rock sound…with slick guitar riffs and a hefty dose of soul….The songs although straightforward and uncluttered, are catchy as hell and manage to be both serious and fun, when the occasion calls for it…. An impressive second record…” – Time Off (4/5 stars).
The ABC and community radio have broadcast several Sunburys songs (both album versions and live broadcast acoustic performances), and both records have been featured as ‘Album of the Week’ status at influential community stations.
The Sunburys live show is also consistently well-received:
“The Sunburys are distinguished by their rigorous adherence to (and subsequent mastery of) the various incarnations of early-70s blues-rock/pop. The greatest compliment one can pay the band is that they transcend each and every cliché one could associate with them – coming across as timeless where other bands would sound retrogressive. One could attribute this to a myriad of separate factors – musicianship, songwriting, et cetera – but, ultimately, it comes down to the band’s unnerving attention to detail. The sheer precision of every aspect of the band’s set is utterly remarkable. Anthony Dettori’s songwriting is sharp and erudite on tracks like ‘Soul Singer’ and the overall musicianship of the trio is exceptionally taut…” – Time Off.
As one punter recently put it, “they’re like classic You Am I with a little bit of AC/DC thrown in”. Which is nice work if you can get it.
Even though the critics have been kind, The Sunburys are not a buzz band. You won’t see them schmoozing industry bigwigs, tapping on the celebrity-temple door, or changing their tastes to impress the impressionable. Reading the NME is not a pre-requisite to appreciating them. When the sheep and the goats go their separate ways, The Sunburys meet the goats down the pub for a cheeky pint and a good chuckle.
The Sunburys make the kind of music they themselves enjoy. If you enjoy it too, they extend to you their humble appreciation.
All three Sunburys albums are available through Handsome Devil Records / MGM Distribution (catalogue reference numbers SUNCD01, SUNCD02 and SUNCD03 respectively), as well as online through the usual digital distributors.
For people who dig: oldschool rock, the British Invasion bands and their kindred, and songwriters of substance.