Sonoi – Sonoi

January 01, 1970

(Low Transit)


This band’s deep Chicago
roots have already led to many local post-rock comparisons, but Sonoi’s
wide-ranging sound seems more influenced by acts like Television and Talk Talk
than Tortoise or Town & Country. Led by former Manishevitz members Adam
Busch (guitars/vocals) and Ryan Hembrey (bass/keys), and also including drummer
Pierce Doerr, Sonoi tilts away from that band’s art-pop inclinations toward a
more expansive, droning and modal jazz-inflected palette.


Opener “Red Ants” floats from out of the ether on a sinuous
guitar line, subtle tribal rhythms, and a coating of keyboards and electronic
effects, and Busch sings in a voice approximating Tom Verlaine’s pinched
delivery. The Television effect kicks up a notch on album highlight “Clouds,”
pulsing percussion splattered with brusque, angular guitar chords that expand
into intertwined, Verlaine-and-Richard Lloyd-like layers. Likewise, the
6-minute-plus “Angeline” uses a marching beat and organ wash-drone to weave a
spell accented by a welcome sax solo, while “Sherry Falls”
and “Cat & the Barbie” opt for more concise pop-inflected beats without
sacrificing Sonoi’s ear for great texturing or their fondness for building


The spacious feel bears the stamp of producer (and Boxhead
Ensemble maestro) Michael Krassner. The second half of the record tilts more
experimental and, unfortunately, loses some focus without any pop songs to
break the rambling spells. Brief tracks like the under-a-minute jazzy
interludes “R Pryor 1” and “R Pryor 2,” and longer ones like the 11-minute
over-indulgence “Anchor Tattoo,” rely more on mood than structure, with only mixed
success. Still, those sins of commission don’t detract from what is an exciting
opening statement from a compelling new trio.


“Clouds” “Red Ants” JOHN SCHACHT




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