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Album Reviews: 6860
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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Sumner - 1980 Sumner
Sumner - 1980 Sumner

ARTIST: Sumner
ALBUM: Sumner
LABEL: Asylum
SERIAL: 6E-266-A-P
YEAR: 1980


LINEUP: Sumner Mering - guitars, vocals * Larry Treadwell - guitar, background vocals * Novi - keyboards, electric viola * Robert Louis DiChiro - bass * Mark Sanders - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Radioland * 02 Dynamite * 03 Wishes * 04 Hot Night * 05 No Time To Stop * 06 Run Cindy Run * 07 It Ain't Up To Me * 08 You Excite Me * 09 More Beer


Add Sumner to the long list of Los Angeles bands that scored a one-off major label deal and faded into AOR oblivion. Fronted by guitarist and lead vocalist Sumner Mering, information on Sumner is severely limited although we know the band plied their trade on the L.A club circuit and were somewhat unique for the time featuring a rather cute female keyboardist calling herself Novi. The album was produced by the legendary Jack Nitzsche best known for his work with the pretentious and unflappable Neil Young, jumped in bargain bins right after its release with no singles or air play to speak of.

The Songs
A snappy original sound makes for a classy album that walks a line between AOR, new wave and art rock sophistication although it went right over the heads of the average listener and that said was a tough sell for radio as well. Putting the record in the same category, but not nearly as immediate as Speedway Blvd and the Face Dancer debut for sheer innovation; Sumner had it going on with much of the credit going to the avant arrangements and dynamic key work of the lovely Novi. Main-man Sumner Mering's smoky croon adds a wee-hour vibe to much of the material and songs like the John Cougar meets Roxy Music 'Radioland', the quirky and deliberately Cars-ish 'Wishes' and the Steely Dan noir of 'Hot Nights' are an intriguing listen. Throw in some plugged-in electric viola on the poppy 'Run Cindy Run' and what could have been a typical bar band battle cry turned sophisti-rock masterpiece 'More Beer' and you have an edgy and odd album that smartly stuck its arty neck out from the typical paint-by-numbers pop of the day.

In Summary
Turning up albums like this is what made digging in cut-out bins so much fun way back when. For every three or four turkey's I threw a few hard earned dollars at, it was albums with that something different like Sumner that made the effort worthwhile. Don't let this one pass you by.

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#1 | super80boy on April 21 2013 21:41:47
A catchy mix of new wave and AOR sensibilities with quirky steps here and there. A creative effort with dynamic song arrangements. Surprised that the song 'Radioland' didn't see radio play or some sort of recognition, it's great.
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