“Up to Something Good” from Sunshine Collective – Retro ’60s & ’70s Sunshine Pop and more

Sunshine Collective, the pairing of L.A.-based singer/songwriter Stephanie Richards and composer/songwriter/producer Brian Arbuckle, is back with their second album of hip and quirky, Sunshine Pop-meets-Retro music with an all-ages appeal. “Up To Something Good is set for release on September 18. With their songs regularly placed at all the major networks and studios, the husband-and-wife team of Stephanie Richards and Brian Arbuckle had already carved out an enviable niche on the national music scene when Sunshine Collective’s debut album Wanna Play? was released in 2010. Although not created for all-ages listening, per se, Wanna Play? turned out to be a smash hit with kids and parents alike, with several songs in steady rotation on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live. Arbuckle and Richards heard repeatedly that kids were memorizing every word and requesting the album over and over in the car. Sunshine Collective doesn’t pander to low expectations of children’s listening abilities by simply laying “kiddie lyrics” on top of a basic 3-chord musical structure. Recognizing that children are responsive to music that has sonic complexity and lyric depth, the team purposefully delivers a break from typical kids’ fare, keeping it fresh, cool, and “adult ear” friendly. “Up To Something Good” has a roll-down-the-windows, flyin’ free feel, but its summertime sweetness isn’t sticky or syrupy; it’s refreshing as cold fruit at a hot picnic. The album’s powerful instrumental ensemble flexes its muscles while never intruding on Stephanie Richards’ vocal tone and style or her crystal clear delivery of the lyrics. Her eminently ear-friendly voice serves up mod pop and jazz-tinged tunes just as deftly as pop-country, four-on-the-floor, head-for-the-sun numbers. The album’s title track is pure pop heaven: bold, brassy, pulsating with life as Richards’ powerhouse soprano soars over a complex orchestration that’s a full-throttle take on the cinematic spy theme. In the Schoolhouse Rock-inspired “Love Is The Way,” the lyrics are unafraid to tackle adult stresses, but all problems vaporize in the warm sunshine of a child’s answer to many of life’s challenges: love. “Run For The Sunshine,” a summer-at-the-beach song, celebrates sunshine, surf, and sand, wrapped up in a life lesson about “enjoying the ride,” while “The Ride” is a ’70s road trip song with a distinctive, driving rhythm reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” Richards’ and Arbuckle’s work is often compared to current radio pop such as Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles. Listeners will note strong influences of The Beatles, Beach Boys, ’60s/’70s pop, and vintage jazz in the team’s production and songwriting. Before launching Sunshine Collective, Brian Arbuckle and Stephanie Richards had an R&R pop chart hit with Stephanie’s debut single, “Get Use To It.” Arbuckle’s orchestral compositions can be heard on trailers for Benchwarmers, Catwoman, and Spider, among others, as well as network promos for shows like Cold Case, Big Bang Theory, and 60 Minutes. He has mixed music for Sprout, Disney, Disney XD, and Nickelodeon, and he is currently in music production for a new Simpsons promo campaign. “Up To Something Good” will be available at iTunes and CDBaby. # # # CD Details: “Up To Something Good” Release date: September 18, 2015 For all ages. Label: Mystefire Records SRP: $14.95 Running time: 38 minutes