On their eponymous debut, Sonoi entices their listeners with a combination of dreamy pop and Krautrock atmospherics, pulling them through their headphones and allowing them to drift through the spacious pop landscape that they’ve created. The end result is a sound that manages to be both familiar and experimental. Through the use of gentle repetition, Sonoi is able to create a sense of familiarity in their songs, allowing the listener to get comfortable as the songs transition from the safety of pop into more textural, ambient territories. “Eva Baton” starts out as a fairly innocuous bit of pleasantly smooth dream pop before slowly adding layers of reverb-drenched vocals, ending the song with an underwater feeling that’s completely different than its beginning would have suggested. And like the individual tracks, the album itself builds in a similar fashion. While the earlier tracks like “Clouds” are easily accessible, the album shifts in a more ambient direction with the minimal and spacious “Anchor Tattoo.” From then on, the album begins to become increasingly ambient, stripping away the pop of the earlier tracks in favor of synthesizers and samplers, creating a more experimental electronic sound. This structure gives the album a sort of “story within a story” as Sonoi peels away the familiar pop song structures track by track until all that’s left is the spacy ambience. This is an album that won’t immediately grab you with a standout single, but with its progressive, flowing structure and dreamlike atmosphere, Sonoi’s debut is an engrossing album that will reward listeners willing to relax and be taken on the sonic journey that’s been laid out before them.
by Gregory Heaney