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Sondra Sun-Odeon – Ætherea (SunOde Publishing) – Boxx Magazine

Boxx Magazine | Sondra Sun-Odeon – Ætherea (SunOde Publishing)

Monday 24th June 2013,

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Sondra Sun-Odeon – Ætherea (SunOde Publishing)

Roxanna Bennett December 5, 2012 No Comments

Overall Score

3.5

The debut solo album from Silver Summit’s Sondra Sun-Odeon, Ætherea is an experimental, artfully arranged soundscape that at times veers into self-indulgence. Many of the songs suffer from soporific repetition and would benefit from restraint and judicious editing. The strongest and most interesting tracks are also the shortest.

Collaborating with musicians from bands like Beach House, Manorexia and Espers, Sun-Odeon allows each artist to play to their strengths. Helena Espvall’s mournful cello is the anchor that keeps the album rooted to the earth whenever it threatens to dissipate into delicate discord. Ben McConnell’s barely-there percussion and Leyna Marika Papach’s soaring violin carefully complement Sun-Odeon’s slide guitar and plaintive vocals.

“Belonging” and “Golden Bird” are beautiful exercises in yearning. “Lady in the Woods” is a fairy tale soundtrack with an urgent chorus, “She runs as fast as she can/She runs as fast as she can,” impressing the listener with the sense of being pursued through a treacherous landscape. “Witches” is one of the strongest tracks on the album, doing the most justice to Sun-Odeon’s thirsting vocals.

“Paradise” is repetitive to the point of monotony. At nine minutes, fifteen seconds, “The Apple” borders on tedious. While it highlights Sun-Odeon’s excellent sense of dynamics—perfect pauses balanced with echoing crescendoes that culminate in a frenzied string solo—it is needlessly long.

Ætherea is a complex, evocative album. Sun-Odeon is an obviously thoughtful songwriter, each breath and note sounds carefully considered, perhaps too careful. There is a wooden quality to songs that should transport the listener. Music this intelligent has the danger of becoming too pretentious to listen to; fortunately Sun-Odeon stops short of that kind of navel-gazing preciousness, but only just.

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