Listen Up: Wednesday, April 08, 2009
files/2009-04-08/lup_1.jpg
PHOTOS: 1
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Sonos

Sonos
(Big Helium Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

As a kid from the ‘60s, I’ve always associated a capella singing with guys in greased-back D.A. hairdos harmonizing on “In the Still of the Night” or the Swingle Singers’ jazzed-up Bach. I was impressed by Petra Haden’s 2005 a capella recasting of The Who Sell Out (a favorite album at my house), and when I saw the press release for this album, I was surprised to learn that there’s currently a vogue for a capella groups on college campuses. (My niece sings in one, and the release says there are about 15,000 active nationwide.)
The six members of L.A.-based Sonos share a background in college a capella and an affinity for the songs of edgy modern rockers like Björk, Fleet Foxes, Imogen Heap, and Radiohead. They intertwine their voices seductively, weaving beguiling harmonies and melodic counterpoint, although they cheat by using sampled beats and electronic effects on a few of the tracks. (I was hoping to hear a human beat box.)
On “Everything In Its Right Place,” the singers and arranger Christopher Harrison do a remarkable job of vocally reproducing Radiohead’s hallucinatory electronic landscape. Sonos gives L.A. singer Jesca Hoop’s “Summertime” an African-inspired treatment, and songwriter Sara Bareilles joins them for their soaring version of her tune “Gravity.” Best items here are Sonos’ reading of Rufus Wainwright’s “Oh, What a World,” rendering the song hymn-like where the original was showbizzy, and their take on Heap’s “Come Here Boy,” in which the lush backing heightens the song’s lust and longing.
Sonos’ arrangements don’t deviate much from the originals, and their music leaves the same impact as the Bad Plus’ jazz interpretations of alt-rock “standards.” Now that they’ve proved a capella’s continuing relevance, it’ll be interesting to see where they take the genre next.


Email this Article...

Back to Top


Copyright 2002 to 2019 FW Weekly.
3311 Hamilton Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: (817) 321-9700 - Fax: (817) 335-9575 - Email Contact
Archive System by PrimeSite Web Solutions