After whittling the line-up from thirteen down to a much more manageable nine, the Brighton band renowned for their sublime live shows are at their very strongest and most passionate. Turquoise Purple Pink sees the band exploring the influence of 70s Italian psychedelic horror soundtracks, minimalism, synthesisers, extreme volume and transcendent joy. Expect intense siren song from the duel female vocalists, three interlocked guitars and an assault of horns and drums.
The band extensively road tested this material before capturing it live at Brighton Electric Studios. After witnessing SONAA perform Turquoise Purple Pink in full at Green Man festival, The Observer called SONAA their ‘best discovery’ of the festival:
“In the front: two girls doing Cocteau Twins-like ethereal vocals and faultlessly choreographed dance moves, occasionally breaking off for a drum or clarinet solo. In the back: the band (three on guitar and bass, two drummers) blast out funky basslines, building crescendo and noise levels that would make My Bloody Valentine proud.”
After seeing SONAA preview the album at a show supporting These New Puritans, The Quietus wrote:
“Sons Of Noel and Adrian plug a defiantly electric brand of muscular jazz-rock that recalls the acceptable face of early seventies prog; Soft Machine, later Traffic and the ‘Rock In Opposition’ movement, somewhere between Henry Cow and Magma, rather than pretentious dullards such as ELP. The seven-piece (apparently they can number up to 15) swing together effortlessly, Emma Gatrill’s clarinet trading riffs with Al Strachan’s trumpet before switching to abstract vocals and percussion, all over a solid bed of tense, complex rhythms, quietly screaming guitar and fuzzed-up, Church Of Satan electric organ.”
The band have successfully reinvented themselves several times over their decade long history. SONAA’s 2008 self-titled debut album combined the lo-fi aesthetic of the likes of Bonny “Prince” Billy with the scale and dynamics of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The thirteen band members created a signature combination of hushed intimacy and epic grandeur which Drowned in Sound called “An intensely vivid journey into a discordantly beautiful world…. truly inspirational”.
In 2012 their second LP “Knots” saw the band “go electric” and explore new influences. In their review, the BBC noted the “influence of Chicago’s avant-garde rock and jazz scene and guitarists such as former Slint-man David Pajo in particular” and called it “a meaty, satisfying listen, unapologetically grand, featuring scores of strings, percussionists and woodwind trills to exhilarating effect”.
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