I have to admit that I’m a bit of a romantic. Especially when it comes to this particular genre of music. I can’t help but envision all these majestic landscapes as they pass through my mind’s eye like one of those Classic ViewMaster toys you had as a kid. I can listen to a song and instantly be overcome with a slide reel show of the Moors in England or the mountains of Montana, all in their sepia tone glory. This is only brought up because I’ve always wondered how much a band’s surroundings come into play when writing music. Surely, if you’re surrounded on all sides by a sprawling nothingness and a grey sky that seems to go on in perpetuity, that would have to have some bearing in an artistic sense.
I AM SONIC RAIN hails from Treviso, Italy which sits about 40 minutes directly north of Venice. I understand you didn’t come here for a geography lesson, but Treviso’s proximity to Venice is important. If a mountain, a forest or a moor compels one’s artistic creativity then surely being within a stones throw from one of the birthplaces of the Renaissance would. But it’s not all gambesons and surcoats. Treviso (and Italy in general) has had a tumultuous history. The rise and fall of Rome. The Machiavellian era where assassins plied their trade. The evils of a devastating World War. Italy’s history reads much like any other country’s history. The major difference here is that no matter how dark the days got Italy is the birthplace of some of the most inspired and beautiful paintings, sculptures, philosophy and literature the world has ever known. It may sound hyperbolic, but I AM SONIC RAIN’S Hidden continues this trend with confident, laconic and inspired songwriting.
According to the band Hidden began production not soon after their last release “Between Whales & Feverish Lights”. This is album that has been 7 years in the making. There is a meticulousness and precision that immediately becomes evident upon starting the first track. This is a well produced album where every note and musical phrase has it’s place in the world. I tend to worry about albums that feel as if they’ve been produced into the ground, but I AM SONIC RAIN is still able to make everything sound raw and intimate. The track Bastille really stands out for me on Hidden. This is a stellar track and the only one that features lyrics. Bastille is almost Jenniferever-like in style. It’s melodic, dark and almost has an uneasy air about it.
Hidden is all about control. I AM SONIC RAIN has an almost surgical precision approach to every bar on the page. They are a highly disciplined band in regards to musicianship. The more I listened to this new album the more I fell in love with it. There are layers on layers on layers here and it will most likely take multiple listens for I AM SONIC RAIN’s genius to shine through. Hidden absolutely rewards patience and attention to detail. As a listener you almost feel as if you’re part of the process as there are several “Oh I get it” moments on the album.
Treviso’s own isn’t a band that throws some cords in a few amps and just starts writing. They’re mad scientists in a lab creating order out of chaos with volatile ingredients that could start a dangerous chemical reaction at any moment. There’s so much on this album to listen to and enjoy if you just take the time to really delve into their sound. On the track “Bengala” alone you’ll hear beautifully layered guitars, an almost 70’s detective show horn section and pirouetting xylophones. I AM SONIC RAIN even showcases a Suzuki Omnichord. An instrument, I must admit, I had to look up but am now fully convinced is the raddest instrument to ever grace an album (seriously, Google this thing).
I AM SONIC RAIN isn’t formulaic by any means. They are a band that employs perfectly a “controlled chaos” modus operandi. Even in sections where they put the drop on a song and let it unfold (as on the track “Loulan”) you never quite feel like you’re out of your element. This is both boon and bane. There will be some who think the album feels sterile (like any good surgical instrument), but Hidden is deeply rewarding. It is one of those albums you’re going to come back to and think “Hm, I don’t remember hearing a glockenspiel before”.
Hidden is aptly named. The listener acts as an archaeologist on the hunt for an ancient civilization. At first glance all you see are the hot, golden sands of an endless desert. Lifeless trees the only landmark to break the horizon. Once you are able to set up camp and begin to dig, you start to reveal the foundations of an ancient temple buried for millennia. A temple hidden from the eyes of man for eons. This new album is that temple and the deeper you dig the more that is revealed to you.
Hidden is available through Deep Elm on December 1st. Preorders can be found at this link: http://deepelmdigital.com/album/hidden
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