A Shine Below The Mound

Written by: BV on 23/05/2014 21:20:02

‘Neu! meets Hot Snakes meets Goat.’ – That’s a description I found of Sonson’s music upon initially checking them out. At first I was actually quite amused by the statement seeing as that particular blend seems near-impossible and incredibly superfluous at the same time. Instead of then taking those words for an accurate description, I opted instead for regarding them as the band’s influences upon starting my numerous listening sessions of their debut full-length “A Shine Below the Mound”.

Playing an eccentric blend of post-rock with psychedelic and kraut influences, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that they are obviously an instrumental band. Where Sonson seemingly differs from the vast majority of post-rock reminiscent bands is the way their soundscapes come across. As they proclaim, the main difference is seemingly that; “where the classic Postrock builds epic landscapes, SONSON are telling short stories, raw and rough, like a Roadtrip where the landscape changes every few minutes.”

This is somewhat true of album opener “Foghorn” which has very little grandeur to it. It still has that sort of shimmering sound of a track soaked in reverb though – which goes a long way towards completing an instrumental aesthetic for me, personally. Introducing some really cool retro organ sounds to add the melody line, “Foghorn” is actually a surprisingly groovy track. The sort of funky edge to the rhythm guitar and the persistent yet underplayed drumming both help keep the track appealing whilst the organ simply spaces out on top of it all. I am having my fair share of troubles with hearing the Neu! And Goat inspirations at this point of the album, but then again references aren’t always best displayed by sheer aping of the sound.

With “Medicine Lumber” we are treated to one of the shorter tracks of the album. Surprisingly, it has very little that keeps it as interesting as longer tracks like “Foghorn”. The very same organ has taken on an increasingly anonymous sound where it sort of just fades into oblivion without me ever really taking notice of it. Yes, I still think it sounds kind of cool but there is simply too little variation for this pallet of sounds to be their defining feature.

I get that Sonson are trying to maintain a belief in the fact that instrumental music can be as equally powerful as that of the musical approach that features a vocalist. In some cases, that is actually very true. Yet somehow it doesn’t ring true to what I pick up from Sonson. They are indeed skilled craftsmen of instrumental soundscapes – tedious tracks like the hopelessly uninteresting “Juvenile Steam” aside – and it would actually be of greater benefit to them to add a talented vocalist to their ensemble. I firmly believe that if they could get a vocalist that fits well with the band, it could complete the cool yet not entirely consistent vibe that the band has going for them. At least that’s what I think it would take for them to become more interesting than they are at this very moment where, cool tracks aside, I’ll still have to deem them somewhat mediocre with occasional splurges into truly magnificent territories.


Download: Foghorn
For the fans of: Savanna, Postures, Goat
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 02.04.2014
Kapitän Platte

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