New Zealand trio the Ruby Suns' recent sophomore release, Sea Lion, evokes the natural world with summery, psychedelic island pop that's steeped not only in New Zealand's indigenous musical heritage, but African musicparticularly Kenya's as well. Of course, the album's pop sensibilities and electronic accents betray its Western roots (vocalist Ryan McPhun is from Ventura, California), as do songs like "Oh Mojave" and the title of the album, a reference to the colony of sea lions visible from Highway 1 south of San Francisco. On one track, the steel-stringed ukulele sings of a South Pacific sea; on the next, the djembe conjures a West African landscape. One song from the album, "Tane Mahuta," is even sung entirely in Maori. For those who need a break from the standard soy meat and potatoes of indie folk, Sea Lion traverses the globe in a precisely muddled concoction of sounds (for example, pots and pans) and instruments.
Sun., July 13, noon, 2008