Sister Sonny


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Lovesongs opens with a bit of electronics sounding like slow churning, cinematic trip-hop, but Sister Sonny soon makes its raison d’être evident: heated, atmospheric ambience molded into ruminating pop songs by lovely, prolated melodies that eschew a spacy chill for a longer, smouldering burn. The band's debut album is subdued in content and in sound. The guitars never actually construct a wall; instead they chime awkwardly, moving unassuredly through the music like pieces of warped metal, a building that weaves vertiginously but never crumbles. It is easy to call music mysterious, but Sister Sonny actually personify the word without sounding as if they are straining to embody it. The music is warm and expressive but stays at arm's length, wary. Vocals come in and out of focus. Basslines are brood with a felt moodiness. Percussively, the music shifts almost unnoticeably from ungraceful tambourine pats and sluggish snare beats to precise, jazzy drumming. The songs move into and out of phase like a dream that blurs the line between what is real and what is fantasy. Electronics dither about behind the songs or, as on "Sonny & Clyde," chop up instruments so that they only reach your ears as damaged sounds. In fact, Lovesongs most resembles an electronic album, but an electronic album as played on electric instruments: woozy, fractured, and colored by a shadowed, urban, artificial light but also organic and thermal. Sister Sonny is less interested in how they get a feeling across than actually getting it across, whether it be with enunciated words or mumbles and whispers, guitar and organ parts that sound like samples or actual samples themselves, a slow-grooving rhythm or an upended one. Lovesongs is more interested in moving rock along so that it can embrace the future on its own terms without any strings attached, and it does so admirably.

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