A Guide To Sonder [Special Feature]
There will always be a special space reserved in my heart for bands who make me nostalgic for my years at Guildford’s Academy of Contemporary Music. Soul-fuelled vocals, rock solid musicianship, a touch of The Funk, a few cues taken from the pop-rock world, and a few tastefully non-distracting flashy moments are all common key ingredients to look out for if you’re looking to spot an ACM-related band – and Sonder include them all to great effect.
Sonder’s latest recordings are an interestingly mixed bag – latest offering Mistress In Solitary digs into a Maroon-5-when-they-were-good vibe; Confessions bounces and tangentially twists into intriguing instrumental asides with a touch of Lunatrix-esque drama; This House Is Not A Home swells with an enjoyable application of subtle dynamics and contains some fucking great lyrics – but personally, I prefer older tracks Make It Or Break It, Raising The Bar, and Light Red. The overall impression at the moment is one of a band who will eventually become mind-blowing struggling to settle on a focussed creative direction. Sonder’s earliest songs practically burst at the seams with power and passion despite a slightly rough-around-the-edges production job, while their new tunes seem so focussed on radio-friendliness that that same passion has been diluted by too much studio polish and mixes so heavy on the vocal that they give the impression of a solo singer with a backing band lurking in the shadows. That said, the latest songs themselves are extremely strong, to say the least.
If you like getting into bands before they hit the big time, Sonder are definitely a band to watch. For a band that’s less than a year old, they’re already promising to speed ahead of the pack – as long as they can strike a balance between commercial appeal and the raw, engaging, and group-oriented energy they started out with. If (or hopefully when) they get to that point, the sky could well be the limit.
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