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Exquisite harmonies make Sonos debut album a real keeper.

  • Dec 31, 2009
During a recent visit to Barnes & Noble I was totally captivated by a new CD that was being heavily promoted in the Music Dept.  I cannot tell you how long it has been since I have been so impressed with a brand new CD.  So when I asked the clerk what was playing he told me it was a new release by a group called Sonos.  I hung around longer than I intended just to hear the rest of the album.  The simple fact of the matter that "SONOSings" simply blew me away.

Now I have been a huge fan of group harmony for years but being a bit older I was totally unaware of the current craze for a cappella groups on college campuses.  I also knew practically nothing about the hit TV "Glee" either.  The fact that younger people are digging group harmony these days comes as a most unexpected and pleasant surprise to me. Sonos is a Los Angeles based
a capella sextet that is certainly not afraid to be adventurous.  It seems to me that they are taking group harmony to a whole new level.  Perhaps this is the reason that I am having such a difficult time accurately describing their sound.  On some tunes they sound like a doo wop group while on other songs the sound could more accurately be compared to that of a choirAbsolutely incredible for a group of only six!  

Since I am a creature of habit I usually enjoy hearing familiar tunes.  But on "SONOSings" there was really only one tune I was even remotely familiar with.  Sonos' rendition of the Jackson 5's debut single "I Want You Back" can only be described as stunning!  A totally unique take on this venerable tune!  I loved it!   Meanwhile, I enjoyed just about everything I heard on this disc.  I would most especially recommend for your consideration "Come Here Boy", "Oh! What A World" and "White Winter Hymnal".  That one might just be my favorite tune on the entire album.  If  Sonos is this good on record I can only imagine what it would be like to see them in concert!  If you would like to learn more about Sonos you can check out the website www.sonosings.com.    Very highly recommended! 
Exquisite harmonies make SONOS debut album a real keeper. Exquisite harmonies make SONOS debut album a real keeper. Exquisite harmonies make SONOS debut album a real keeper. Exquisite harmonies make SONOS debut album a real keeper.

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January 07, 2010
Paul, I just listened to a performance of theirs on YouTube, maybe you could even embed it in your review. It is beautiful! Thanks for pointing this out, I love a cappella groups! By the way, I am sharing your review on Twitter :)

I also wondered if you noticed that your review was featured in the newsletter that @jrjohnson sent out yesterday?
December 31, 2009
I just went to their web site and I'm listening to the album as I type. Absolutely fabulous. Thanks so much for putting such talent onto my radar screen. great review, Paul.
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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  • The Los Angeles-based a cappella sextet Sonos has few rules, but those it abides by are ironclad.

    “We do our best to defy stereotypes,” says Jessica Freedman.  “The whole approach has been to distance ourselves from kitsch,” chimes in Ben McLain. “And we don’t go ‘dow,’” adds Rachel Bearer.


    “That’s one of the words vocal groups use to emulate an instrument, like a guitar, with a made-up syllable,” Freedman explains.  “We steer clear of that in arrangements.”

    With a cappella vocal groups proliferating madly on college campuses and infiltrating the mainstream via TV shows like Glee, Sonos couldn’t have emerged at a more propitious time.  But the three women (Freedman, Bearer and Katharine Hoye) and three men (McLain, Chris Harrison and Paul Peglar) who produce its tapestry of tones are swimming against the tide of jukebox set lists, doo-wop inflections and collegiate shtick in their quest to take a cappella music to a new, more sensual, more musically adventurous destination.

    They’ve already won plaudits from such tastemakers as Chris Douridas of L.A. bellwether station KCRW-FM, who praised Sonos’ “innovative vocal arrangements” and “inspired repertoire, supremely delivered.” “Prepare to be stunned,” advised the U.K. newspaper The Guardian, while Campus Circle lauded their “unaccompanied ...
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Label: Verve Forecast
Genre: Acappella
Release Date: September 15, 2009

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