Mark Crozer first joined forces with The Rels, but the arrival of Sunny Side Down brings fond memories of that self-titled debut (see October 16, 2012 in archives). This new effort carries on as though no time had passed at all. With Mitch Easter of Let’s Active fame producing and helping out on guitar, Crozer and The Rels once again set offbeat subject matter to irresistible pop melodies.
The romantic “All You Gotta Do” kicks off the need-to-escape theme that surfaces elsewhere on Sunny Side Down. On “Toxic Town,” a guy warns a woman that their dead-end surroundings will destroy her if she doesn’t escape with him to the open country. “Corners Of Your Mind” places the album’s most positive vibes (“Life brings redemption when you rise looking for paradise”) with imaginative images of nature, and a lilting arrangement.
The guitar-driven “Lukewarm Love” is more in line with the album’s acerbic title, as a guy realizes his recently terminated relationship was strictly one sided. “I told her she was special,” Crozer sings along to the driving beat, “that’s when she said, ‘Yeah well, let’s just take this slow.’” He also has fun with the gallows humor of “Loathsome Freddy.” “Haunted Head” is genuinely scary—a tale of encountering a mysterious force when trying to sleep at night. The song’s hypnotic arrangement adds another successful dimension to Sunny Side Down.