Sonder Saloon – “Who You Are”

sonder saloon

The debut EP from Los Angeles-based Sonder Saloon packs an incredible punch. It’s rare to encounter a debut with such a powerful and confident sound. This one in particular hearkens immediate comparisons to Fleet Foxes’ own debut, which touted a rich sound of richly reverberating acoustics, soaring vocal harmonies, and a generally serene out-in-the-woods-alone sorta sound. So, it makes sense that this talented trio recorded their Mackinaw EP in a secluded cabin in the Utah mountains. Some bands may retreat to a cabin in search of a musical ethos in gimmick-y form, but Sonder Saloon truly did it for real, as the songs throughout the EP resonate with an almost-spiritual folk quality that’s quite difficult to tap into, isolated cabin or no.

Standout track “Who You Are” gets at the heart of their sound. The first few moments will hook you in immediately, the lonesome acoustic twang reminiscent of Deer Tick’s oft-initial approach. Though rather than his nasally lead, Sonder Saloon are led by beautifully ethereal vocals with commendable multi-layering production capabilities. The minimalism of the twangy guitar lead here is appreciated, as it allows the vocals to shine prominently, especially during the joyful chorus just after the one-minute mark. This is one hell of a hook, done perfectly in its mutual encapsulation of haunting folk and riveting mood-rock. The ensuing electrical twangs are an added bonus.

The rest of the EP is just as good, from the trickling autumnal beauty of opener “Roads” to nostalgic ballad “Childhood”; it’s highly recommended to stream it all in full below or via their site:

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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