Sweet Gum Tree – Sustain The Illusion

With the single, The Gift, still ringing entrancingly in ears we thought we should catch up with the album it comes from and lures attention to. Sustain The Illusion is the second album from Sweet Gum Tree, the solo project of French singer songwriter/musician Arno Sojo and a release which simply captivates from start to finish with melodic beauty and emotively provocative exploration.

After the collaborative creation of its acclaimed predecessor three years ago, The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame, a release featuring among a few Isobel Campbell of Belle & Sebastian, Earl Harvin from the Tindersticks, and The Church’s Marty Willson-Piper, Sojo has created and recorded Sustain The Illusion pretty much on his own with producer David Odlum and musicians Romy and Lise Douylliez adding the only additional contributions. The result is a release which manages to feel even more intimate than its heart bred predecessor while embracing a richer texture and array of sound and enterprise.

Sustain The Illusion opens with the atmospheric Breaking The Bond, electronic beats leading in the inviting melodic coaxing of a lone guitar as colder winds whistle around them. Sojo’s tones soon join the blossoming reflection, the emotion of his voice and words stirring greater intensity in the suggestive sounds. It is energy though which sublimely ebbs and flows as the instinctive beauty of his music seduces the senses, at times with melancholic elegance.

The following Twinkle has a livelier gait, its electronic shimmer and melodic rock guitar stroll as transfixing as the rhythmic dance and vocal adventure within them. As the track gently explodes around ears and imagination certain essences remind of bands such as Slug Comparison and Sigur Rós before Someday hugs thoughts with its confidential emotions and sonic tension. As the song before, it is seriously mesmeric, deeply immersing the listener in its raw heart and emotional drama further expressed through the impressing tones of Sojo.

The infectious swing of Rollercoaster firmly entices next, its boisterous energies and enterprise pure magnetism infesting body and spirit. It is pop infused rock at its best and quite bewitching as too is successor Fairweather Faith, a folk spiced croon with the most delicious melody and a compelling XTC like air. It is an exquisitely layered seduction graced by worldly spices which absorbs attention and ardour like a sponge.

An earthy bass opens up Stars Align, its flirtatious nature matched in vocal and melody as the song evolves into a Nine Inch Nails meets The The like treat. Its eventful minimalistic air and Sojo’s vocal prowess alone stokes pure pleasure which angelic harmonies and an array of sounds and imaginative twists simply accentuates in the album’s best track.

The equally outstanding Guilt Trip similarly has something of Matt Johnson’s band to it, a touch of The Pineapple Thief too as its mix of eighties synth pop and post punk nurtured rock captivates with increasing dexterity. It is another beacon of songwriting and craft within the album taken to a greater plateau by Sojo’s passion and energy.

As the calmer but darker emotional waters of Clean Slate and Burn Your Icons, a track merging Cure-esque rhythms and shadows with jazzier progressive rock adventure, surround ears on the way to seducing the psyche Sustain The Illusion only strengthens its hold, squeezing tighter with recent single The Gift. The track caresses the senses with its golden melodic romance, its heart similarly graceful and reassuring to subdue the shadows which skirt but never threaten its hope fuelled beauty. It is fair to say that the song has been a powerful draw for a great many into Sustain The Illusion and for newcomers into the creative realm of Sweet Gum Tree, and even after a flood of plays seduces as powerfully as ever.

The album closes with the reassuring lullaby of Keeper, a safety clad hug which encapsulates everything masterfully charismatic and fascinating about not only the album but Sojo’s songwriting and talent. So we suggest you do yourself a big favour and check out Sustain The Illusion and Sweet Gum Tree now!

Sustain The Illusion is out now @ https://sweetgumtree.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 03/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Sweet Gum Tree – The Gift

To reinforce the already successful release and temptation of latest album Sustain The Illusion, French project Sweet Gum Tree have another magnetic slice of melodic seduction poised in the shape of new single The Gift. We first became captivated by Sweet Gum Tree through debut album The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame three years ago and the latest offering and other tracks heard since then shows that the qualities and potential of that impressive introduction have grown and blossomed.

Sweet Gum Tree is the creation and solo project of songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Arno Sojo, a musician who has been part of various rock and electro bands over the past fifteen years including another of his creations in Sojo Glider. The first album saw Sojo draw on the talent of guests such as Isobel Campbell, Tindersticks drummer Earl Harvin, and Marty Willson-Piper from The Church. With Sustain The Illusion, he has recorded everything on his own with only Irish producer David Odlum who also worked on The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame helping out.

Within its melodic beauty that first album was a heart of melancholic elegance, an enticing blend which is just as ripe within The Gift. Its gentle caress of melody instantly has attention alert, guitars weaving a disarming proposal backed by the emotive tones of Sojo. A catchy air is just as swiftly invasive, luring ears within the low key but vibrant stroll of the song where every passing second seems to welcome a fresh ingredient of enterprise; strings and keys two elements rising up to add colour and depth to the heart sharing proposal.

The Gift is a serenade for the imagination, a shadowed but open kiss for the ear much as many of the tracks within that first album alone but with a new richness in enterprise and songwriting which can only see Sweet Gum Tree become the centre of bigger spotlights. It is not a lone offering within Sustain The Illusion though as songs like Guilt Trip and Twinkle show. The first of the two is a compelling mix of eighties synth pop and post punk nurtured rock playing like a fusion of The The and The Pineapple Thief while the second, again merging electronic minimalism with melodic rock tenacity, simply rouses the senses like a fusion of Slug Comparison, XTC, and Sigur Rós; both outstanding tracks though emerging unique to Sweet Gum Tree.

All songs are must check out proposals with The Gift, for ears, more than living up to its title.

The Gift is available to download from September 15th with Sustain The Illusion out now across most online stores.

http://sweetgumtree.tv   http://facebook.com/sweetgumtree   http://twitter.com/SweetGumTree

Pete RingMaster 12/09/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Sweet Gum Tree – The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame

Arno Sojo

Arno Sojo

    As poetic musically as it is lyrically, The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame is an enchanting and sublimely enveloping taking of the imagination and emotions. Lush and magnetic the debut album from Sweet Gum Tree is a warm absorbing flight of vibrant and evocative ballads casting crystalline reflections. It is also a presence which evolves and seduces to greater extents with every listen, the songs expanding their embrace and thought summoning potency across numerous encounters to leave the listener lost and immersed in a spellbinding creative soak.

     Sweet Gum Tree is the solo project of French songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Arno Sojo, an artist who for ten years played in various rock and electro bands, most notably his own creation Sojo Glider. Deciding to explore his emerging ideas and sound with an influence of ‘the timeless beauty of refined vintage records’, his uniquely named poetic chamber pop emerged to start tantalising ears as Sojo brought Sweet Gum Tree to life. The band was soon sharing stages with artists such as Heather Nova and Gaëtan Roussel, whilst various singles and EPs have equally drawn strong acclaim and attention to match his live performances. The new album is the next step to awakening a wider audience, something you suspect The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame will do with relative ease. Recorded with David Odlum (Gemma Hayes) and Peter Deimel (Deus, Anna Calvi) as well as featuring a wash of guest musicians including Isobel Campbell, Tindersticks drummer Earl Harvin, and Marty Willson-Piper from The Church, the last pair also joining the band for its upcoming tour debut UK tour, the album is a masterful persuasion of everything from ears and senses to thoughts and emotions. Partly composed with classical arranger Eric Voegelin who also arranged all the orchestration on the release, the album is a tender and melancholic temptation but one with warmth and hope which always leaves the final kiss.

    Lyrically the album is a kaleidoscope of observations and reflective explorations, whether personal or as an outside perception, 1476685_444574455653024_2109686357_nand dreamy if shadowed relationships. As shown by opener Redhead, a track which from a seemingly singular subject embraces all never to be seemingly submissive prejudices, the music written and presented on the album coats and reflects the words with a rich and deep understanding to the lyrical missive. The first song makes a slow and reserved entrance before a piano coaxing welcomes in the fine expressive tones of Sojo, both soon wrapped in the arms of delicious emotive strings, an evocation which constantly seduces and succeeds across the whole of the album. There is a quiet but firm drama to the song too, a seemingly personal angst expelled through heated enterprise which only increases the immediate and lingering lure of the track.

    The wonderful New Rays follows and instantly raises the game, its opening thumping but respectful beats awakening an eager appetite which is soon fed by tempting guitar strokes and melodic enticement. It is a stomp of a song but one never brazen enough to lose its control and dispel mesmeric beauty, every aspect of the track energised yet confident in its restrained seduction. The best track on the album, well for today anyway as that choice has been known to change over various listens, it makes way for the excellent incitement of The Crimson Flush. A rosy blush lyrically and musically, the song is a resourceful smouldering of a glorious stringed narrative around the slightly Bowie-esque vocals. The track does walk the rim of show tunes in some ways but never to its detriment or loss of its irresistible coy suasion.

   Both Bird of Passage which features the earlier mentioned Campbell as one part of a riveting duet, and the bewitching Last Chance Train continue the impressive glide of the album. The second of the two holds a familiarity to it but one which evades recognition within a weave of acoustic craft and textures within a melodic fascination. With rising crescendos of energy and emotion thrilling throughout its body, the track is simply a mouthwatering merger of rock and pop.

     The following Astray with its sultry breath and elegantly inflamed walls and its successor the skittishly rhythmic Chew Up Spit Out provide two admittedly longer to convince but eventually succeeding propositions, their melodic charm and inventive radiance impossible to avoid and dismiss as their lyrical paintings provoke the imagination. Though neither match earlier heights, both leave an irresistible taste in the passions powerfully matched by the almost foxy delicacy and emerging feistiness of Grateful as Fire and the stringed grandeur aligned to an alluring intimacy presented by The Vulnerable Almighty.

     The final pair of songs November Daughter and Breathtaker brings subdued yet melodically ornate and attractively stylish breezes to bear on the senses respectively; the two again songs which maybe want longer to seduce but do not err in their success as they light up the imagination and emotions. Certainly some tracks are stronger and richer in their infectious tempting than others and as to which do will definitely vary from person to person, but every song on The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame is an emotional colour driven sail through melodic and vivid life bred hues, and the strongest evidence that Sweet Gum Tree is set to inflame a swarm of hearts.

http://www.sweetgumtree.tv/

8.5/10

RingMaster 03/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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