BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Chicago’s Treasure Fleet claims The Sun Machine is the soundtrack to an original sci-fi film. From both the breakdown of the plot and the vintage sonics on display, it sounds like a classic B-movie from the utopian end of the ‘60s, where wackiness ensues but valuable lessons get learned anyway. Regardless, the visual narrative matters less than the audio delights, of which there are plenty.
As in love with the Kinks as it is with Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd, Treasure Fleet dips Britpop batter into gently freaky acid oil for a lush, trippy tour through melodic whimsy. “The Wolf” and the very Flaming Lips-like “Sirens of Titan” luxuriate in plush psychedelic atmosphere, the result of too many mushrooms and reruns of 2001: A Space Odyssey. “Max 1” and “Max 2” (which boasts a midsection mashup of Queens of the Stone Age’s “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” and Harry Nilsson’s “Coconut”) set noses in the air and hooks on stun for cheeky ascot pop tunes. “Settle Your Mind” bops along to the kind of post-R&B rhythm the British Invasion made famous, while “A Soft Landing” rolls credits with an uplifting psych pop anthem.
The band has a keen ear for the era it evokes, but the smarts not to fall too far down a retro rabbit hole. Who knows if you’ll ever see The Sun Machine, the film, but it’s easy in every sense to enjoy The Sun Machine, the album.
DOWNLOAD: “A Soft Landing,” “Settle Your Mind,” “Max 2”