Compilation Album Review – Something Beautiful by Various Artists (2021) (Sunday Records)


Back in 1991 a Chicago based fella by the name of Albert, started a Sunday Records label that imparted jangly musical gems upon the world in the shape of releases from They Go Boom!, The Fat Tulips, Po!, Bulldozer Crash, The Pristines, The Proctors and many more that my age addled memory and lazy avoidance of google, prevents me from citing.
Then, suddenly, in 2003, Sunday Records just kind of stopped. An avid fan at the time, I cannot remember any particular statement about the closure, but then the label always appealed because of their perfect indie understatement as much as the music they championed. It just had ‘that’ cool allure.
Over the years I sometimes wondered and then presumed, that Albert had just been consumed by the whole ‘life thing’, as I imagined him to be looking wistfully at his ‘Sunday record collection’, as the energy of his bag load of kids prevented him, in terms of time, energy and fiscal means, from indulging his label passion.
Then suddenly, in 2019, after a ‘mere’ 16 years hiatus, Sunday was back, releasing a couple of brilliant CD’s by L I P S and The Memory Fades. Typically, no fanfare, just a return, with subsequent releases and especially the absolute warmth and brilliance of this compilation, showing Albert as a man that that still has a passion to champion the somewhat unheralded.
The title, Something Beautiful, is perfectly apt and courses through this collection from the very inception, with Strawberry Generation’s Soundtrack 2, sliding fragile, chiming, jangled riffs through sunshine melodies,a slacker-pop wash and the slightest of twee machinations. It’s an aesthetic that is also apparent in Alive by The Arctic Flow, as Albert indulges his 2020s love for softer beauty, rather than his 90s lust for indie-chic.
The best of the remainder of the album sees tracks by Alpaca Sports (Luxembourg Gardens) and Sugar World (Sabbath Still) take more concerted steps into the jangly twee-pop domain, whereas the sumptuous sacharrine of the album is offered some dilution with the jangle-gaze muscle and dynamism of Letting Up Despite Great Faults (Gold) and The Suncharms (Liquid Through My Hands).
Plainly ‘kids free’ these days, Sunday Records are giving this release the full treatment, with an abridged, digital version available now and CD and vinyl releases (augmented with two extra tracks) are out on the 18th June and 3rd of September respectively. Grab yourselfa copy on a pre-order basis here.


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