A couple months ago, an MP3 was made available on the Temporary Residence site from the forthcoming Sonna album. The track was "Frone Taj," and it completely grooved my noodle. Starting out with a nicely strummed guitar melody and propulsive rhythm section, it burst forth into a cascading sheet of lovely guitar interplay and kept that steady pace intact. Having not heard any of the rest of the album, I thought that the group had maybe changed their sound and injected a bit more zeal into their somewhat sleepytime pace (or at least the one that they held on their debut full length
We Sing LoudSing Soft Tonight).
Unfortunately, that track is a bit of an anomaly on the disc, as it's the opening track of the release and the group settles back down into a much more languid pace from there out. It's not an entirely bad thing, as the group has carved out quite a nice little niche with their ambient guitar music, but after the energetic opening, one can't help but wish things would kick it up a notch again.
At any rate, the group does settle into a very nice step from there, even if things do move a bit glacially. "Open Ended" follows up the delightful opening track with very subdued drums and a guitar part that mingles with subtle waves of guitar feedback. Moving along with such simple progressions and change, it almost sounds improvised, but it sucks one in almost hypnotically as the guitars start to play off one another more and more, moving through slow motion worlds of instrumental call and response like whale songs in the ocean. "One Most Memorable" takes things down another notch yet, mixing super-minimal sprinkles of guitars, rhodes organ, and bass into a misty haze. Fortunately, "The Right Age" picks things up again nicely, feeling like the less-hyper little brother of the aforementioned opening track "Frone Taj," building up even slower and stretching out a nice ending of decending pace.
"Smile" again drifts into complete ambo land (with mingling melodica and quiet guitar feedback waves) before closing out with the long "And The World Smiles With You." Building very deliberately, the track concludes with a lush crescendo, and provides a nice release after the quiet midsection. It's nothing that would register on the richter scale (like the louder=better motto of Mogwai), but anything more punctuated would feel out-of-place on the subdued release anyway. One small difference on the release is a lack of any vocals (several tracks on the debut had them), and the release isn't the lesser for it (if anything, they just brought to mind the dreaded 'e' word with that disc). It's seriously mild, and it may test some listeners around the meandering midsection, but it's another fine little album (with more lovely packaging) from the group.