The Sun Orchestra
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The Sun Orchestra

Perth, Western Australia, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Perth, Western Australia, Australia | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Pop Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Polly Medlen Band"

City Meets Country

The Polly Medlen Band launch a new EP, Hotel Loves, at Mojos this Friday, November 23, with support from Stoney Joe and Rachel Gorman. BOB GORDON reports.

On the newly released EP, Hotel Loves, Polly Medlen and her band have acknowledged their sounds as being not so ‘pure country’ anymore. The singer/songwriter says it was more a case of natural evolution than a conscious decision to change gears.

“Definitely,” Medlen notes. “I have never really had a conscious determination when songwriting and I think originality is a hard thing to manipulate in a certain direction. So I guess you could definitely attribute the deviation from my old sound as me just growing up and moving on, appreciating new artists and their sounds.”

Even so, the single, All Banged Up, still bears the rough, tumble and scars of a country song. Is it true that you can’t take the country out of the girl?

“My voice is one thing that doesn’t change,” Medlen laughs, “so yes, it’s still me battling away in there. I think that whilst your mood or headspace can often dictate what sound you come out with, your lyrics still reflect back to your most favourite influences, where you learnt your technique, because it’s what you know, you never shake that.

“I first heard Dolly Parton when I was like, three, and immediately obsessed on wanting to sing, write and perform like her. Minus the tight pants and big hair.”

Medlen has found that the chemistry within the band [guitarist Terry Mathison, drummer Nigel Bird and bassist Willem Lieftink], has very much consolidated over time.

Hotel Loves was recorded at Debaser Studios by producer Andy Lawson, with Lee Jones [Sleepy Jackson/Eskimo Joe/Sun Orchestra] adding some guitar and pedal steel.

“I have only been in a recording studio a couple of times, so I guess I speak for myself when I say there is something really exciting and gratifying about getting to the recording stage and being able to go ahead and choose who would like to produce it or play on it,” Medlen says.

“Andy and Lee were both respectively the ‘right fit’ for the stage the band was at with its sound. We wanted someone to interpret the country-esque elements of what we had created, but encourage the new elements the band had brought to the songs in the last year.”

Over the last six years Medlen has had numerous wins and nominations in the WAM Song Of The Year competition. While she doesn’t see music as a contest, it’s certainly helped with her confidence as a writer.

“Most would say that awards aren’t everything and I agree that they certainly are not in most cases - but the reality is that things like the WAM songwriters and artist awards are a massive motivation and assurance for anyone who is songwriting or performing, and getting credit from like-minded peers is important to the lot of us.

“I am probably my toughest critic when it comes to songwriting. There are so many songs that end up in the bin before I even show anyone. So when one song gets riiiiiight the way through to being performed, then recorded, then appreciated by someone other then just yourself or your grandma, it’s a pretty damn nice feeling.” - XPress Magazine

"The Rising Sun"

WITH many years working in the music industry, and a pedigree including WA rock heroes Eskimo Joe, new WA band The Sun Orchestra promises to deliver some quality original sounds.

Comprising three core members in Shaun Sibbes, of Balcatta, Lee Jones, of Wattle Grove, and Marc Earley, of Maylands, The Sun Orchestra grows in size for live performances with local musicians including Ben Witt (from rock band The Chemist), Bec Litton and Steve Hensby.

Sibbes said he and Jones grew up in the Southwest town of Collie before moving to Perth and forming the band Spencer Tracy, which they played in for seven years before splitting to bands Astronaut and The Avenues.

“Then we started getting into session work and Lee and I both landed the session gig for Eskimo Joe for a couple of years,” Sibbes said.

“I played drums and he played piano and guitar and then I left Eskimo Joe to join Sneaky Sound System from Sydney.”

Sibbes said the two old friends soon rediscovered their mutual loves of classic sounds and melodies.

“We found we worked really well together and we had gotten over our differences from the Spencer Tracy days,” he said.

“Eskys and Sneakys have been quiet, so we have been in the studio.”

Sibbes said a love of Tom Petty and Neil Young helped shape the country-tinged sound of The Sun Orchestra.

“We love our harmonies and (Harmonies-loving US neo-folk band) Fleet Foxes are a big inspiration of ours, though we didn't know about that band until about last year, but that's kind of where we were heading anyway.

“We obviously love Fleetwood Mac, with those type of harmonies and sing-along sing along choruses.”

Together with bass and slide guitar player Earley, the three have cut their first release in their Malaga Bang Bang Studio, where they also do production and session work for other musicians.
Sibbes said the band's first five-track EP showcased the different sides of the band.

“It goes from everything from an acoustic solo song with some minor percussion right up to a full-on pumping rock song, so it crosses a lot of genres,” he said.

“We've just been finding our feet and making sure we're happy where we're going, and it's coming along nicely!”

The Sun Orchestra play The Bird, Northbridge, on September 3, Fremantle Arts Centre on September 4 and Mojo's , North Fremantle, on September 5.
- Joondalup Weekender

"Astor Theatre - Basement Birds Review"

What can you expect from Australia’s super league of musical genius? Comprising members Steve Parkin (solo singer/song writer), Kav Temperly (Eskimo Joe), Josh Pyke and Kevin Mitchell (Bob Evans, Jebediah), you know there must have been some debate over who gets to play the harmonica.

Perth’s Astor Theatre looked a treat, draped around the stage were colourful bird shaped kites. Rows and rows of birds hung from the lighting rail – those with cameras snapped away with childlike curiosity. All the seats were filled as The Sun Orchestra took to the stage. Bringing us a delicate set full of heartfelt lyrics as people filed in to sit on the ground waiting patiently for the Basement Birds.

Sydney based Old Man River played an excellent set despite the lack of response from the night’s crowd. Riding through with mandolins and tambourines, front man Ohad Rein and his melodic pop sunken voice got a few heads bopping with more the more popular psychedelic pop tunes of Sunshine and _You’re On My Mind. _

The Basement Birds stepped out onto the stage greeted like Gods; with stomping cheers fueled with excitement. The first thing you notice is each signature hair style, Temperly with his dark luscious hair slicked back, Mitchell and his curly blonde mop, Pyke channeled his inner teenage wolf and Parkin found comfort in going without; each voice being more distinct than the hair on their heads. They hit us first with Waiting For You – Punters were seemingly hypnotized and swaying side to side.

Temperly proved that he is more than the brooding rocker from the Eski Joes with Holly. Carrying it around like a sack of ARIAS, Temperly’s way with words and passionate delivery were certainly impressive. Surprisingly fitting in with the folky three better than I had anticipated. Mitchell may have won the harmonica privileges, but Pyke got a bigger cheer for wippin’ out a shaker. Watching the band exchange witty banter and involving the audience with their little ‘in’ jokes makes for an intimate feel in a not so intimate setting. An unknown compared to his national icon band mates, Parkin didn’t stand in the shadows. Talented in his own right on the keys, velvety smooth voice, plus his ability to whistle in tune will see him being an alternative poster boy very soon.

Pyke proudly claims the least pop sounding song on the album as his favourite; Ghosts filled the room with a haunting chill. With perfect harmonies, the four sound like they were born to make music together. With a nursery rhyme melody, Bus Stop livened up the evening with some cute female vocals to back it up.

Leaving us with a false sense that the set was finished on Cinnamon and Smoke, we didn’t budge. Coming back for an encore; Mitchell looked classy as ever downing red wine from a plastic cup. A cover of The Presets My People seemed to get the most engaging response. Being more familiar with the lyrics, people yelled out the words, jumped around pretending we were in a club – it was nothing short of amazing. They finished with Waterlines, a very mellow lullaby that doesn’t sound entirely like a lovechild of a drinking session.

Call them ARIA snatchers, call them a super group – truth is they are just four friends making bullshit free music together. - Faster Louder

"Live Review"

On the 26th June, Timothy Nelson and his posse of Infidels invited a few mates along to share in the launch of their new EP “I Know this Now”
Starting the night out were the very impressive The Sun Orchestra. Conjouring up a mix of Simon and Garfunkle, James Taylor, with a dash of Paul Kelly and a pinch of CSN, Lee Jones and Marc Earley put on a wonderful set which really set the tone for the evening.
Next up were one of my favourite bands, . Led by Bridget Turner and Gabrielle Lammers are this wonderfully eclectic mix of harmonies and up beat, full of smiles, off the wall folksy pop. Incredible sound that just has to be experienced live, you really are missing out if you haven’t experienced these guys live yet.
3rd cab off the rank were 6’s and 7’s with their full, lush, melodic sounding brand of music. Having a brass section gives the music this wonderful edge and borders on a total wall of sound. Definitely a crowd favourite as they had the crowd up and dancing.
Without a doubt, most people had come to see Timothy Nelson and the Infidels and they made sure the audience went home with more than their money’s worth.
With their distinctive brand countrified pop/rock Mr Nelson and the band filled the cavernous Rosemount Hotel with some of the best music to be heard there in a long time. Playing with passion and energy they cemented their fanbase and added a fair number of new fans as well. Luke Dux is always worth the price of admission and his virtuoso guitar playing was in fine form this night.
All in all a brilliant night of music and an impressive way to launch an EP. Well worth a listen - The AU Review

"The Sun Orchestra EP Review"

It’s heartening to know there’s a fresh Australian band out there with the drive to make honest music like this. In their self-titled EP, The Sun Orchestra use a balance of country, acoustic and 80s Oz-rock to create a highly-listenable and polished five-tracker.

The former Spencer Tracy* members and Eskimo Joe touring musos have created something that will appeal far beyond the obvious blues and roots crowd one would associate with such musings.The EP is built around committed choruses and a keen song-writing sense indicative of a group of lads who have been making music in various forms for most of their lives.

The Bang Bang Studios production (with contributions from Eskimo Joe’s Joel Quartermain ) is difficult to fault; particularly in the lavishness it brings to the band’s harmonies. This is best heard in opener Shoot You Down, which is a beautiful example of contemporary folk.

The Telecasters come out through the body of the EP and well-executed nods towards Midnight Oil ( Sinking Ship ), Tom Petty ( Record Player ) and Paul Kelly ( My Devils ) feature strongly.

If I Sang you a Song is one of the prettier acoustic country croons heard in recent times. The Sun Orchestra plays the right hand with the EP’s closer by producing a ballad that avoids the high risk of schmaltz and uses simple melody to much success. Frontman Lee Jones’ voice shines brightest here.

This EP has set the tavern bar high for the trio’s (and their extended line up’s) forthcoming album. If these WA statesmen can produce a long player with the consistency shown in these five songs, it will be something to look forward to. -

"The Sun Orchestra"

Perth band The Sun Orchestra have been receiving quite the large-scale attention from scoring quite the impressive supporting slots for Basement Birds & performing at A Day on the Green starring America, Chicago and Peter Frampton. Their debut EP release, which is self-titled, highlights the skills they have attained throughout their dealings with such experienced artists.

The Sun Orchestra combine elements from the music of Paul Kelly, The Flaming Lips and perhaps some early acoustic Radiohead, all to create an excellent alternative-pop recording that is really enjoyable to behold.

The Sun Orchestra EP contains 5 tracks, each containing a slightly different style from the groups’ vast musical palette. Shoot You Down, the opening track, dabbles in the ambience of chamber-folk music highlighting Lee Jones’ vocal styling with an acoustic guitar accompanied by some reverberated vocal harmonies and metallophones that add a sweet, soft tone to the otherwise husky lyrics.

The track Record Player sees The Sun Orchestra add some traditional Australian rock to the collection of songs, adding some electric guitar riffs and catchy lyrics that could well receive quality airtime on an independent radio station or could get a good crowd excited at a pub or club. Record Player is comparable to the popular tracks of The Panics or Augie March and will surely generate some hype towards this bands growing popularity.

The Sun Orchestra should be congratulated on such an incredible start to their recording career with their debut EP. Each individual track is enjoyable in a unique fashion making their style very versatile and highly entertaining for any audience. -

"CD Review: The Sun Orchestra EP"

The Sun Orchestra bleed ambition; everything from their band name, to their bold, confident songwriting and the cover art of this, their first EP, suggests they have their eyes set on conquering your radio, if not Mars. Focusing on a rock sound that incorporates country and folk inflections, this EP is a consistent display of their talents.

The sound is lush and dramatic, courtesy of producers Andy Lawson and Joel Quatermain (from Eskimo Joe), who apply a glossy sheen to each track. Slide guitar and deep, spacious harmonies abound, giving the songs a cohesive and luxurious feel that bolsters their emotional resonance.

Opener “Shoot You Down” is a good introduction that demonstrates some slight experimentation with the country/folk format, preambling the widescreen melody with a heartbeat-like rhythm. “Record Player” is a country-pop song that bears a strong resemblance to Harvest-era Neil Young, but has a melody strong enough to avoid mere pastiche, even if the song drags its heels towards the end. “Sinking Ship” maybe gets carried overboard lyrically, but is a fine piece of stomping guitar rock that carries a darker edge, standing in contrast to the other, more winsome tracks here.

The slight scowl in Lee Jones’ vocals is peculiarly reminiscent of Sean Kelly from Australian 80s synth pop Models, but Jones is less one dimensional, capable of much more versatility and emotion in his singing. The musicianship is deft and understated throughout, reflecting the experience of the band; Jones and drummer Shaun Sibbes were the central members of Perth popsters Spencer Tracy, and Sibbes has played with Eskimo Joe and Sneaky Sound System.

The Sun Orchestra EP is a strong local release that delivers on the talents of those involved and is worth seeking out for those who enjoy the likes of Wilco and Elliott Smith. - Spaceship News - By Alex Griffin

"Me and Mr. Jones"

Sun Orchestra vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Lee Jones also moonlights in bands such as The Sleepy Jackson and Eskimo Joe. Ahead of the band’s appearance at the Perth Blues Club’s Mardi Gras on Saturday, February 27, at the Charles Hotel he speaks to BOB GORDON about his musical life.

You're playing at the Perth Blues Club Mardi Gras shortly, what part does blues play, or how has it informed, the music of the Sun Orchestra?

When Shaun (Sibbes, drums) and I first began playing music together 14 years ago, our first band was a blues band which we specifically formed to play at the Bridgetown Blues Festival, as the theme that year was youth in blues. We had such a great time we continued playing blues gigs for two or three years after, until we formed Spencer Tracy. We grew up in Collie and one of the first gigs we ever did in the city was at the Perth Blues Club.

The musical education we received playing country and blues music had a big influence on our direction for the Sun Orchestra, and it seems like we've come full circle as a lot of those early roots are emerging naturally as part of the way we write and arrange our new songs.

What was your initial vision for the Sun Orchestra and how has that since evolved?

When we first began I just wanted to sound like Neil Young & Crazy Horse – country, bluesy, pop/rock, with electric guitar bass and drums. As things progressed, we added new members like Steve Hensby, who plays lap steel guitar and mandolin and Mark Early who plays upright bass equally as good as he plays electric. We have found that as acoustic guitars became more important, our arrangements became more diverse and it is still evolving. Our goal is to have a multi-dimensional live set that takes the audience on a journey rather than just banging out a single dynamic.

Are there plans for a release anytime soon?

We are three quarters of the way done through recording our first EP at Bang Bang studios with Andy Lawson. If all goes well it should be released within six months.

You've toured as a guitarist/keyboardist for The Sleepy Jackson and currently Eskimo Joe. Does that make it difficult at all to progress forward with Sun Orchestra?

It has been a little difficult in the past, and especially this last year, as Eskimo Joe have been touring regularly. It makes it a little hard to get momentum going as there are one or two month periods where I'm touring extensively in another band and have no time for The Sun Orchestra, but the guys in Eskimo Joe are very supportive, and I'm coming up to a down period where I can focus exclusively on my own music and I'm really excited about this year.

Tell us about your other muscial venture, Astronaut?

Astronaut is a band that for two or three years was mainly myself and Rhys Watson, (B-Movie Heroes) writing crazy songs in my room all weekend. We eventually enlisted Ben Chase on keyboards and as a producer and we recorded an album of quirky dance rock tunes and put together a live band and began doing shows. It's another musical project that I’m also really excited about having the time to pursue properly this year.

Do you find music more fascinating the more you delve into it?

I think if I studied for the rest of my life I couldn't unlock all the secrets of music. It's a never-ending quest and addiction that I have been severely afflicted with and I couldn’t be more suited to a pursuit than the creative life of a musician.

What does the rest of 2010 hold for your life and music?

2010 is the year to realise the dream of this band I’ve had for so long and I plan to spend every day I’m home writing and recording new music. I set up a home studio a while back and I plan on living in it for six months!

The Perth Blues Club Mardi Gras happens at the Charles Hotel on Saturday, February 27, from noon until midnight and also stars
Bob Malone (USA) and Seamie O’Dowd (Ireland), Adam Hall & the Velvet Playboys, Mo Candy, Simon Cox Band, Div Craft, Diamond Dave & the Doodaddies, Rufus & the Night Herons, Chameleon Brass Band, Charlie Brown Brass Band and The Zydecats-Mardi Gras Allstars. See for full details.

Bob Gordon - 04 February 2010

- Sunset Magazine

"The Preytells CD Launch"

The Rosemount Hotel
Saturday, September 26, 2009

Clearly not everyone’s cup of Ethiopian roast, Carbuncle’s tribal-tinged experimentalism garnered a luke-warm reaction from a post-Grand Final crowd with Mark Seymour anthems still ringing in their ears. To the right set of ears, and to someone in the appropriate headspace, I’m sure their stuff is ace. Alas, this ignorant bourgeois square-eared hack has simpler tastes.

The Sun Orchestra (formerly Circuits Of The Sun) put on a tight set of country rock, aided considerably by new steel and mandolin player Steve Hensby, who adds a twangy authenticity to their sound. While Lee Jones’ lone acoustic number could have been much more delicate to lend contrast to the rest of the band’s set, The Sun Orchestra continue to impress.

As reliable as Swiss horology, Fall Electric performed a stirring collection of tracks from Measure And Step. Dynamic, intuitive and brilliant - it’s all been said before.

With a real sense of occasion now in the air, Preytells frontman Will Tell took to the stage cradling his autoharp to launch his band’s long-awaited debut album, Flood Songs / June Songs. Tinkling his way through a delicate rendition of Shout, Tell began the trajectory of a show which would highlight not only his songwriting talent but the kind of relaxed, perfectly in control band performance that only come from putting in the hard, local-gigging, yards.

It Ain’t Easy was an early favourite for those partial to The Preytells’ janglier, more ’60s beat-pop leaning material. Followed by the more off-kilter Lies and later Sacramento, the audience was reminded of the band’s evolution into darker, more oratory Cave-esque material. To their credit, shifting between these two styles throughout the gig was never jarring or odd, rather it illustrated how The Preytells have evolved into their own unique sound.

Arguably their best pop song, Could I Change Your Mind got a great reaction from a crowd who undoubtedly recognised the track from its significant play on RTRFM last year. With Audrey Tell’s spiky lead locking in perfectly with Will Tell’s loungey croon, this song has the goods and was delivered with effortless cool.

Non-album tracks First One That I Loved and Don’t Leave Me Alone rounded out the show in a slightly more subdued fashion for the fans who had demanded for more, but perhaps finishing with a hit would have been inappropriate for this ambitious local band who continue to evolve, surprise and excite.

DAVID CRADDOCK - Xpress Magazine

"Mojo's Bar - 24 May 2008"

The cosy confines of Mojo’s bar made for a welcome respite from the wintry night sky that had descended on Perth on Friday. However Circuits of the Sun provided warmth with a set of bittersweet alt-country tunes popularised by the likes of a couple of bands you may have heard of beginning with the letter “W”.

The band played a tight and engaging set, but perhaps could have better utilised Tara Drosdowsky on keys for variety. Most songs were similarly structured; punchy guitar-driven tunes revolving around either a slide guitar or harmonica lead lick; those most cliched of alt-country touchstones. Just as it appeared as though there would be no surprises, they played Honey. Wow. While it didn’t deviate from their established sound, it did capture and highlight the band’s strengths; wistful lyrics, male and female vocals in perfect harmony, and melodic guitar flourishes (that was Ben Witt wasn’t it?) complementing a full and impressive sound. The track, like much of the set, had a distinct Sleepy Jackson feel, which was hardly surprising given the involvement of guitarist Malcom Clark and singer Lee Jones in the band.

The pre-show line-up blurb for the Domnicks had focused on the patronage of an ex-member of The Clash. Now let it be said that: (a) Nick Shepherd is a former member of The Clash in the sense that Zac Beeck is a former West Coast Eagles player; and (b) an association with Cut The Crap is not something to be trumpeted. Thus, Nick’s venture with fellow Perth guitar legend Dom Mariani (The Stems) generated little more than a cynical interest. Said Cynicism was misplaced as it turned out. They play a fun and pretense-free brand of classic garage rock that is guaranteed to get the dance floor moving. As it did. It’s a shame that of the hundreds of local original bands playing in Perth, there are a bare few featuring band members over the age of 28. These guys are ace musicians and are able to call on priceless experience to put on a great show. They know what they’re doing and they do it incredibly well. As one punter aptly put it: “That was real rock and roll”.

The beer garden quickly emptied as The Preytells kicked off their set unannounced with Sacramento, swelling the intimate venue to capacity. Perhaps launch show nerves got the better of the band, as their stage presence was lacking for a large part of the set. Will Tell is a great front-man and a commanding presence at the front of the stage, but he needs some support at either side. It doesn’t help when a fifth member is needed to hammer out a couple of chords on piano and otherwise stand around looking absently.

What they lacked in stage presence was compensated by pure song writing skill. Their best songs were very, very good; Shout is a joyously life-affirming track and an excellent choice of single. It was sung with an enthusiasm impossible to ignore, and it received the biggest reception of the night. If there is any justice it will shoot the band on to bigger and better things. Other standouts included Holy Roman Empire and I’m So Sorry, while the country-infused, Lies showed impressive variety. The band’s new material mines a quirky and dark vein of indie rock, and is a natural and welcome progression from their usual 60’s-styled pop.

All band members were genuinely appreciative of the large and vocal crowd, and the feeling was clearly mutual. A loud roar was rewarded with an encore, and the early nerves appeared to have dissipated completely as they tore through fan favourite Don’t Leave Me Alone. In closing with Honey Take A Picture, it was again highlighted how amazing their best songs are, as the band left Tell alone on stage to create one final trance of beautiful lyrics and looped melodic guitar.

Endnote: Mojo’s. Seriously, most underrated venue in Perth. Sound-man George is to be complemented.

- Stumbleine. -


The Sun Orchestra's self-titled debut EP was launched in mid-2010.



Swirling, swaying, unpredictable. From intricate symphonic melodies to foot-stomping raucous sing-alongs, The Sun Orchestra are a unique musical hybrid of country and modern day indie-pop with an emphasis on carefully crafted lyrics and glorious harmonies to warm your soul.

Over the past ten years The Sun Orchestra has played with the likes of Old Man River, America, Chicago, Concrete Blonde, The Dirty Secrets, The Kahn Brothers, End of Fashion and The Basics. They have completed tours with The Basement Birds and supported The Panda Band on numerous occasions.

More than the sum of their parts, The Sun Orchestra create timeless, country-tinged rock songs that shoot like sunbeams straight into your psyche.

“ The music this band is producing is undeniably strong” – Josie Smith, Xpress Magazine

“ ...every chorus delivered four-part harmonies arranged to perfection, and after songs as full and as well-rounded as The Drifter and the Brian Wilson-esque Honey, references to their other bands were an afterthought at the most.” – Michael Inglis, The Drum Media

Influences: Neil Young, Gram Parsons, The Band, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Flaming Lips, Led Zeppelin

Contact: Bookings/Management
Racquel Flores

Ph: +61 420 395 381

c/ Radio Cure Entertainment
1 Monmouth Street
Mount Lawley WA 6050