Sonnymoon: Self Titled

Photo credit- Patti Miller.

Unclassifiable, almost indescribable, and thoroughly enthralling, the new self titled album from US experimentalists Sonnymoon is a bedazzling jewel of this musical year. It is a release which magnificently stretches the sounds conjured within as much as the listener, an album which at times is pure rapture and celestial manna for the senses and in the moments where individual taste means a less cohesive connection only ever leaves one smoking in grateful  thought and imagination.

Sonnymoon consists of Dane Orr and Anna Wise, who met whilst studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. The Boston duo already have found acclaim through debut EP Golden Age of 2009, two track release Blast Off at the tail of last year, and the 2012 EP earlier this year. The new album is the band at its most magnetic yet, a journey of intangible and mesmeric soundscapes which almost defy logic but fluidly bring everything into a seamless and ingenious union. It is near impossible to describe their sound but calling it a fiery blend of The Sugarcubes, Rip Rig & Panic, De Staat, Propaganda, and Peaking Lights, is kind of in the ball park. The release is provocative and evocative, something to fire up the mind whilst igniting the heart.

Released through Plug Research, the album is in the mind twisting the psyche immediately with opener Wild Rumpus. Released as a single earlier this year, the song is a kaleidoscope of invention and its sonic offspring. It enters on a disorientating wind of electronics expulsions sending thoughts scattering in all directions before settling into a lively trip of eager jumbled rhythms, disharmonious whispers, and celestial dazzles. The enchantment which is the voice of Wise permeates the assembled entourage of sounds like a siren, her wonderful tones pulling everything round her like a melodic magnet. It is a stunning start soon accompanied by further outstanding pieces off composition and its realisation.

The warm perpetually evolving Greatness holds the heart in a seductive embrace with again Wise shining like a sun amongst the ever shifting infectious sounds of Orr. Completely different from its predecessor but still as innovative and compulsive, the track sparks the remaining fires the first left merely smouldering.

The album is kind of in two halves though it is preference to the sounds which makes the distinction. The first part is an energetic nonstop escalator of imaginative and air juggling invention whilst the second is a more relaxed and unassuming collection of songs though no less visionary. The likes of the wonderful sultry jazz coated Kali and the simmering Watersboiled accompanied by the irresistible temptations of Flit, Fleet, Float, and Nothing Thought, has every thought and emotion lifted and immersed into the beauteous contagion the songs offer. Kali is aural sex, its seduction through harmonies and shadowed caresses addiction forming whilst the following Watersboiled is a simmering orgasmic treat with sizzling harmonic kisses and splintered melodics upon dark pulses. It is again an infection of the deepest form and along with its sister in delicious wantonness just before, they are not only the best moments on the album but arguably in indie music this year.

As mentioned the latter part of the album has a more reserved and settled presence though there is no lack of unpredictable and thrilling invention, just an overall smoother flow of whispers and stroking warmth. Songs like the slightly corrosive Others By with its squeezed ambience forming bulges of disturbed energy and scorched melodies and the woozy Every Summer Night leave one lost in wraps of feverish sound and vision whilst the closing Just Before Dawn just sends chills through the body. Its first half is a wonder borne of Young Marble Giants, that same simple elegance pouring from every note and syllable into the ear. Nearing its fourth minute and halfway in, the song dons an orchestral lined cloak and transports the listener into a world of courtliness driven by natural peace and grandeur.

To be honest this only gives you a glancing blow at representing the majesty which is called Sonnymoon, band and album. It is a release which inspires and incites with every second whilst offering the time of your life in fractured excellence and discordant blinding beauty.

RingMaster 16/09/2012

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