ROGUE SOUNDS: Sunny Erickson’s Alive in the Attic Does Folk as a Living Entity
As we drown in technology, there has been a luddite revival in music. But while some have aped the sound of the past, cooing songs about farm life over standard banjo, others have applied the soft folk instrumentation to more abstract song forms free of sing-a-long choruses, hook lines, and lyrics that descend into finely-articulated escoterica.
It’s the latter than can be heard on Alive in the Attic, the latest release from Ashland musician Sunny Erickson.
The 10-song collection was released to Bandcamp in late August, and is Erickson’s first new collection since January 2014.
It starts with “Get it All,” an arpegiated run on the guitar with high dreamy vocals and a downtempo electronic backbeat. It’s the folk version of lo-fi dreampop, and it’s a solid cut, though a bit long at 6:26.
Another standout track is the album’s sixth, “Wide Awake.” A rolling backbeat on the hi-hat, and a looped echo give a nice sense of motion that highlights the dreamy feel of Erickson’s vocals. It has the feeling of a Thom Yorke demo.
The album’s final track, “Feed On,” is also one of its best, and, according to a recent Facebook post, Erickson’s favorite. Its delicate boom-bap beat and string line in the background have the feel of early psych-pop efforts.
The songs have a tendency to run a bit long for their lack of changes. Seven-minute songs benefit greatly from switching it up here and there. And with more than nine minutes, even “Feed On,” can start to drag.
Alive in the Attic feels is quiet and intimate. Some of the vocals are just louder than a whispered secret, and the guitar has that special soft tone of sharing a song with a friend late at night.
Not everyone is into lo-fi recording or composition that blurs the lines between verses, chorus and bridges. But Erickson’s new collection shows Southern Oregon musicians reaching beyond the beards and banjos cliches in their approach to folk.