Sunharbour are a London based collective of 14 musicians based around guitarist and producer Simon Kusnierek. Their varied sounds mixes organic jazz grooves, an onboard string section, acoustic-guitar based song based sensibilities and layers of intricate musicianship. Vocals are provided by a Tnisha Johnson, Rachel Huggins, Nancy J Brown & Junior Williams.
As you would expect from a 14 member pool of influences the Sunharbour sound is wide and expansive. The music is downtempo and grown up…. part Zero 7 sheen, part Penguin Café presence, part trip-hop groove, part summer beat movie soundtrack but all focused around a core of great songs.
Opening things up is “Ain’t All That” a wandering excursion into summer days, uplifting strings and Nick Drake guitars. “Mind Echoes” trips into melancholy territory with London based Junior Williams delivering a finely mood setting vocal over fluid grooves and triphop beats . Insurgence is all about the building of musical tension via jazzier, musical textures. “Welcome Home” juxtaposes programmed beats and bass with free flowing chamber orchestra string washes.
Recent single, “Wisdom” creates a haunting and poignant pause in the record before ‘Sailing’ mixes in some earthy picked-guitar and mellow synth-lines to create a summers day Penguin-Café style soundtrack. “Anticipation” returns to summer days this time with Tnisha pairing with Spanish guitar and themes. “Mirrors” takes the album down a darker, haunting crescent.
With ‘A Spark’ Junior once again takes on the lead vocal duty, to deploy his breathy, soulful swinging presence to bear. “Strange” mixes in swinging beats, Celtic strings and moody brass stabs. The record finishes off with the darkly brilliant “The Night” and the forlorn “Alone”.
Their debut album has been years in the making but resulting record (which was recorded at Abbey Road) was definitely worth the wait.