Somesurprises is the project of Natasha El-Sergany, who is a lawyer in Seattle. Huh, so: legal rock. Okay. Not a subgenre i have thought a lot about...
Actually, Ms. El-Sergany does immigration law. And apparently she just started working with a full band after a few years on this project. This is my introduction to somesurprises, and i like what i see here.
The record kicks off with sometimes, a floating haze of synths and echoed guitar, with a voice aahing over it as the music grows slowly and orchestrally. It reminds me of Shellyan Orphan in a pretty but amorphous way.
The next song starts with guitar and laconic drums, her voice echoed. The song is called Empty Threat, and something about it seems very psychedelic to me. This is like a 1950s ballad reimagined for the acid and free love set, so in that sense it reminds me of Candace.
High Rise starts out dreamy and psychedelic, some late 60s hazy smoke and a faintly groovy echo on her voice as the song bounces along, the guitar picking a happy little riff. And then halfway through the band kicks in and starts rocking with distortion, fuzziness to all of the sound, and louder drums. This reminds of the more intense moments of Grimble Grumble. It grinds along loudly and intensely, then slows down and the end is a slow fade similar to the intro. Nicely done.
Late July is mostly the guitar picking away as the rhythm taps a lazy beat and her voice floats by. The song moves in a mellow sort of unhurried way, like an odd folk tune slightly off focus. The guitar gets loud with lots of tremolo as the song grows, like a slowish guitar freakout. Her voice kind of reminds me of Margot Timmons here, only a little richer.
El-Sergany channels Jessica Bailiff on Airport. This starts with picked guitar, sparse and light, then layers of synths join in for a while. Eventually, her voice comes in as the drums tap by. In the middle she sings a wavering note that reminds me of the scenes in old 60s movies where everything would get squiggly and weird... Very cool.
Country Sun features slide guitar and tapped drums to give it a western feel. Her voice and the organ drone make it seem vaguely like Azure Ray.
On Are You Here? the bass steps out into the lead position, a slippery riff driving the song along next to the tinkling guitar. This song reminds me of the things that Sabbath were doing in their mellower, more stoned moments. It is trippy and dreamy.
Finally the record ends with Cherry Sunshine, which is a nine-minute, spacey jam with hints of Stereolab's metronomic krautrock rhythms. Groovy. It just goes on, the band droning and her repeating the title over and over. Towards the end, there are horns layer in, which is a nice effect.
I really enjoy this record. It takes a lot things that i have listened to over the years and sort of uses the Photoshop blur tool to smooth out the edges. Nicely done.