if you've been reading for a while, you'll know that i like the john butler trio. (the band, essentially, is frontman john butler and a drummer and bass player who change roughly each album. for this album, the drummer is nicky bomba, and the bass player shannon birchall.) last year, i saw them live, and they performed a two and a half hour show that was, honestly, one of the most enjoyable experiences listening to live music i've had. the play with a passion, and a love, and if they play the music you dig, which is a mix of blues-roots-alt rock, then you're going to like pretty much everything they do. if, on the other hand, you're against that kind of music, and a bit of hippy tree hugging love, then this isn't going to work for you.
that said, sunrise over sea is a slightly more mature album that previously, but will not strike anyone who has the previous albums as being any big departure from what they do. it kicks off with 'treat yo mama' and ends with 'sometimes', clocking in at seventy odd minutes, and features an assortment of instruments (ranging from a lapsteel, 11 and 6 string guitars, congos, and to a kooky spoon) and at one point, features butler and a banjo in 'damned to hell'. the song has a nice old outback australian feel to it that, at a minute forty eight, ends long before it wears out its welcome. i have to admit that i am somewhat surprised i even tolerate this banjo song, since my childhood was very painful in the banjo area. but there you go. probably the biggest departure for the band as a whole, however, is 'zebra', which has been floating around as the single, and thus easily downloaded or heard. i'm not quite sure what they've bought into the song (i heard in an interview that it was a jazz influence, but i might be remembering this wrong) but whatever it is, it works.
ultimately, sunrise over sea is good, but nothing new. this bothers me not at all, however.