Not going to lie. "Sounds Of The Summer" was an interesting viewing experience. Calling it a documentary however, may be overstating it a bit. Travis Houze, who wrote and directed, offers up more of a glorified, extended promotion of sorts - to be completely truthful. Although "Sounds Of Summer" does offer quick little tid-bits of history... there simply isn't enough to be a true documentary. There is also very little on the music itself. You get almost as much information reading the title, and the one line description, as you do in the film. It's "assumed" you know what the film is about before you start watching. I'm not saying that you can't put two and two together as you watch, rather that Houze leaves a lot for you to have to discover. Unless you happen to live in DC, Maryland or Virginia. If so, I'm guessing no introduction is required. Side note? I did the leg-work. A quick Google search filled in the blanks of this title. Especially when referencing "DMV" or the sub-genre known as Go-go. Once I did this, a few minutes into the film, I was instantly able to enjoy the rest of the show. It just struck me as odd that so little would be included in a self professed documentary; and why I think "Sounds Of Summer" is more akin to a promotion.
And yet... once the missing gaps were filled in, this was a great short film. The quick little tid-bits on Chuck Brown made me think a dedicated documentary, about him, would be something to think about. The little facts on the people - and genre were all top notch, once you knew exactly what everyone was talking about. The one universal theme I did take from this film was one of fellowship. Community. The "scene" may be drawing people together, but the feeling of community is what really makes the DMV click. Can a message get any better? Isn't that the heart of music? I think so.
The look and feel of "Sounds Of Summer" really does make you think full out documentary. One that's done right I should add. It really plays like any doc you've ever watched. That includes, feature films that no doubt had a much... much higher budget. Travis Houze knows how to please the eyes of anyone who loves this type of film. Locked off interview shots, straight through to "on the street" guests. It's all here and it's all put together nicely. There really isn't much more to say on the technicalities of this production - and that's a good thing. It's just what you think it is, if you recall the last good documentary you've seen. No complaints. Excellent job.
In the end, I really didn't mind looking a few things up myself. It added a little depth and personal involvement. For those in the know, this short flick will be right up your alley. For the curious but uninitiated, it's worth a quick search via your favorite engine. Add to that, this is a freebie to watch and not overly long. So what's stopping you from dropping in? A solid three stars. Unless you already know the drill... for those that do... maybe add an extra half star.