If there's one thing that the fifty-two-minute Sunburst brings into sharp relief, it's John Daly's exceptional skills as a craftsman. The incremental approach he uses to build an arrangement is one of the ten-track recording's primary pleasures, with the producer layering one instrument and pattern upon another with patience and circumspection. Melodically, he's no slouch either, as becomes clear after even just a single run-through of the album material. Hailing from Cork, Ireland, Daly first surfaced in 2005 on his then newly founded label, Feel Music, and has spent the years since refining a style that one might characterize as an organic fusion of house, techno, electro, and dub. It's clean and polished but not so overworked that it's drained of vitality.
The suitably radiant title cut opens the album on a heavily synthetic note, with chiming keyboards and washes establishing the widescreen vibe before other instruments appear. “Release” opts for a more robotic, Detroit-influenced delivery, with sci-fi synths waxing poetically about some lost techno paradise against a backdrop of jittery electro patterns and hefty bass pulses. “Moon Pool” stands out for being one of the album's most fiery cuts in having rhythms that build so fiercely they threaten to veer out of control. That's a good thing, by the way, on an album whose tracks can sometimes feel a little too much like they're on a tight leash. Daly wisely keeps the energy level high in the tracks that follow (“I Got Bells” and “All Night”) before ending the album on a incandescent high with “Daybreak,” filled as it is with hyperactive rhythms and dub-inflected splendour.
Donning a critic's hat, one would describe Sunburst as a never less than satisfying collection but also one that's no game-changer. Though Daly consistently hits his target, it's positioned only modestly high in terms of originality, making Sunburst more recommendable as a sterling work of craft as opposed to innovation. Having said that, it's hard to deny the multiple charms that “Promenade” and “Daybreak” have to offer, with the luscious tracks, like many others on the release, offering sparkling arguments for Daly's production acumen.