Title: Acid Pops
Genre: Electro Pop / Future Pop / Synth Pop
Release Date: 11th January 2019
Label: Danse Macabre Records
The audience which can be named as Goth family, or even figured as “dark scene”, might already have heard of SONORUS7, which consists of the two singers Liss Eulenherz and Clodi Korzin and the keyboard player Daniel Korzin. The three-piece band was founded in January 2017 and developed quickly. A first music video has been released in July of the same year. And it went even further: In 2018 they first won the “Sonic Seducer Battle of the Bands” and afterwards signed a record deal with Danse Macabre (Bruno Kramm, DAS ICH) on which SONORUS7 released their first album, 'Acid Pops’, in January 2019. Some live shows followed, one of those was at the well-known WGT (Wave Gotik Treffen). Now that is a big story for a young and hardworking band.
‘Acid Pops’ has been released on CD, coming in a transparent jewel case and with an eight-page booklet. The artwork is aesthetically pleasing and so is the inner part of the booklet, which shows different pictures of the musicians, gives the lyrics in a written manner and some additional information about the involved persons. I was wondering a little about the cover artwork, because the band’s first announcements were with an even more provocative picture (the singers pretended to lick a lollipop). Someday they declared that the picture was too much for ads on social media and so they changed it. You can still find the first artwork on search engines. The new artwork does not break any rules, but it fits perfectly anyway. For me, the former cover artwork was even better on the point.
The author of these words must admit that he was curious and wanted to take a look at the band’s live show at the Wave Gotik Treffen 2019, but the room was way too small for the crowd. The promoter should have put SONORUS7 on a better stage with a much higher capacity. And I think larger stages could be their natural habitat.
But now to the album itself. Since back in the day when records were pure gold for a music loving person I remember that there always have been two kinds of records: The one that will straight dig its sound and message into your brain (and probably will never leave again) and the other that takes some time to unfold its true size - regardless of the many trash records of course. I must declare that ‘Acid Pops’ is some of the second kind for me personally. The whole modern world is such an overload in all respects. Everywhere you go you will be denying to buy things that you were told to buy. Advertising is omnipresent. And so is the record industry nowadays, every new hit feels like its name: A hit into your face. The music of SONORUS7 is the difference and that is what it makes it so unique.
The music is only one aspect and to talk about it separated from the band’s special live concept would feel like walking over architecture. As SONORUS7 communicate, the experience of their music, artwork, video, live shows and all other media and output is structured and should work as a whole. You as a potential listener should be aware of that. Apart from it all it seems to be logical that you should be recommended to buy the record, watch their music videos and visit a concert. The band’s shows are used to be extreme, but in a positive way. Somewhat of apocalyptic or similar outfits, massive video screenings, the use of confetti explosions every when and then, they even bring their own bubble machine. I am wondering why SONORUS7 are not booked by festivals like the M’era Luna, that would fit. But I am here to review the music.
The album opener ‘Alohomora’ is meant to be an almost instrumental intro to what may come. Super saw-ish sound (you can recognize the author to be a synth nerd) is the first impression, but it easily takes the listener to a further and even deeper world just a few seconds later. The low-end could have had a much more intensive impact, but I will come back to the sound issue in general later. The length is perfect as the music drives the listener to ‘A New Tomorrow’, which begins with the voices of the singers, almost unnoticeable. The song turns out to be the first real hit on the album, a good balance between a noisy bass line, filter doodling, background pad-like and string melodies and memorable voice lines. But not to forget a lot of background noises, samples and sounds that come to the front from time to time, you will find them in every track. ‘Incendio’ is a dreamy song that starts with an arpeggiated sequence you will be dreaming of at night, nothing extraordinary to be honest, but perfectly implemented. The song breathes slowly and shows a depth and emotion which drives me to say, it is a masterpiece in terms of arrangement and narration.
For some of us FM synthesis is king. And the same might apply for ‘Observer of Divide’. A typical FM bell rings the listener into the right mood. With melodies and chanting like we were back in the time, the song has its highlight and a dinky bow of suspense. In a similar way the track began, it ends, just to lead you right into ‘When the World Stands Still’. It starts with typical Future Pop sequences, but inevitably evolves into a dystopian nightmare of a chant. The two singers insistently ask a lot of “what if” questions. Our life is transient, but this song is not. I tend to listen to it repeatedly. The voices of Liss and Clodi work in unity and perfectly. ‘Wasteland’ is the next one and might be known by some of you, because the band promoted it with their first music video back in 2017. First I wished some of the melodies would be a little more present, but soon I found out that they don’t need to. The song is meant to be much noisier again and the band added some male voice lines. After countless rounds of celebrating this little hit I must confess that the male voices would not absolutely be needed to make it work. ‘Wasteland’ might have found its audience on the dancefloor for sure.
Records should have their highs and lows, without meaning that lows are rubbish. ‘Bounded By You’ is such a low, but it fits well after ‘Wasteland’. Sometimes it is much more reduced compared to the songs so far, the listener should give it more than one try and find a lot of lovely interspersed details. The topic sounds like there was a separation of one of the musicians before, because the lyrics leave the impression of a sad anti-love song, though it gives a little hope. ‘Breathe Me In’ takes you apart quickly. Energetic and chorus-like it comes to different stages, sometimes with full energy and sometimes with halftime played drums, which gives it even more energy. I recommend it for the disk jockeys. Another dystopian anti-love song awaits with ‘Where Are You Now?’ “No drug will heal my pain” - this was the first line that really, really impressed me. Everybody knows the message. What stands out is the brilliant composition and the well-chosen use of sounds, from which a lot are FM synthesis again. The end blows me away every time.
‘Finite Incantatem’ gives you an alternative and finishes the album itself. It sounds a little different and takes a lot of time to develop. There is no use of lyrics in it, but a few background “aaaahhhs” are still present. This track is not as tranquil as it seems at first sight. A spanking but smart sequence brings a lot of pace into it. The album ends like it began: Dreamy and leaving you asking if it the plot is promising and hopeful or not. It remembers me of the end of George Orwell’s ‘1984’ when the protagonist Winston has finally found his happy end and the unconditional love for the leader against which he revolted all the time. The reader would have his doubts and for me, this end made me read it again and again. And so I think it is with ‘Acid Pops’.
Afterwards nothing less than five remixes are presented as a bonus. Like in most cases these are re-works of some of the songs of the given album, but indeed by well-known artists. You will find remixes of quality by EISFABRIK, ES 23, RABIA SORDA, MECHANICAL MOTH and RROYCE. I don’t think the listener would underestimate them, the names are too big. But as they are additional material I won’t write too much. My recommendation, if I was to decide on life and death, would be the one of RABIA SORDA.
I promised to write a few lines about the sound. On one hand you have the first self-produced work of a young band and you could easily regret some little “technical” mistakes. But on the other hand and after some investigation I got the impression that this is not the issue. The previously released versions of the songs, which are all included in this album, sound way punchier and have a bigger impact in the low-end. I found out that the band maybe did not master the record by themselves, so I guess that the mastering engineer has done a too easy job and should add some extra time when it comes to another assignment for the next album. Rising the pressure points should not be witchcraft. Comparing the songs with each other (e. g. ‘Observer Of Divide’ and ‘Wasteland’), I have to admit that even the loudness and spectrum is too different. This is one of the main tasks of a mastering engineer. My intuition, resulting from many years having worked in the music industry, tells me that this has its own story behind it. Too often the artists are the bereaved at the end. So who knows what the real issue was in this case.
As I wrote before, the modern world is noisy and loud. Everyone wants to realize themselves and it sometimes feels like there is no return to the start option. ‘Acid Pops’ of SONORUS7 is different. Aside of being a decent conceptual work, in special regard to their live shows, videos and artworks, the music sounds logical in comparison to the surrounding world. The general message does not ignore the problems, but involves them and brings it all to the point. Only a very few technical aspects could be improved, what leaves one wondering if it really is the first self-produced album - I have to declare my respect. How often did you think the same about new records of bands that exist for decades? But this is a little drawback that doesn’t devalue the music at all and makes the process as a whole more human and organic. The listener might take a few spins of the record, but surely will not regret it. I have definitely crossed the line and cannot help anymore but love the music. The band is young and I personally can’t wait to listen to the second album - hopefully some when soon.
Recommendations: ‘When the World Stands Still’, ‘A New Tomorrow’, ‘Wasteland’
02. A New Tomorrow
04. Observer of Divide
05. When the World Stands Still
07. Bounded by You
08. Breathe Me In
09. Where Are You Now?
10. Finite Incantatem
11. Incendio - Eisfabrik Remix
12. Where Are You Now? - ES 23 Remix
13. Breathe Me In - Rabia Sorda Remix
14. Bounded by You - Mechanical Moth Remix
15. Wasteland - Rroyce Remix
Liss - Music & Vocals
Clodi - Music & Vocals
Daniel - Music & Keys
https://www.sonorus7.com / https://www.facebook.com/Sonorus7
Total: 9 / 10