Sianspheric - "The Sound of the Colour of the Sun"
(Sonic Unyon, 2001, SUNCD072)
From Aural Innovations #17 (September 2001)
Sianspheric returns for their first full-length studio CD since 1998's There's Always Someplace You'd Rather Be. While bassist/vocalist Steve Peruzzi has left the group, original second guitarist Paul Sinclair has returned, and with him, some of the magic that made the band's first album, Somnium, such a winner. But rather than going backwards, Sianspheric forge boldly ahead, still drawing on the noisy sonic textures that characterized their previous album, but veering mostly away from that album's industrial feel. On The Sound of the Colour of the Sun, the noise soothes, especially when softer, flanged guitars lying beneath accompany it. Sean Ramsay takes up lead vocal duties, and his voice has a gentle, summery, psychedelic feel to it, which adds nicely to the overall ambience of the album.
The opening track, Audiophone, introduces the mood of the rest of the album perfectly, with its deep, deep layers of delayed and sliding guitars, building slowly, introducing more and more noise till it fills your entire headspace with undulating sonic waves. Tous Les Soir begins with a beautiful, moody intro before exploding into an almost impenetrable wall of sound whitewashed with noise. By contrast, QFD is a slow rocker, which melts into an astonishing noisescape that gives the feel of being in the cargo hold of an old airplane as it careens across the sky.
At this point, the band, seemingly having got the clamor out of their system, slips into a distant, mellow feel that sustains the rest of the album. It begins with Radiodiffusion, which starts off as an easy jaunt of bright percussion and reverbed guitars before sliding into a mellow and spacey cover of an old Smith's tune, eventually getting washed over in a haze of gloriously soft feedback. In fact, throughout the album, Sianspheric tend to use feedback and noise in the way other bands might use keyboards, like a string section comprised of deep space signals rather than violins. Sometimes the effect is almost hypnotic, such as the waves upon waves of noise at the end of Slightly Less Sunshine. Locksley Taylor's piano also adds a nice melancholy touch to songs like Ending is Better Than Mending, which also features some truly haunting, ghost-like guitar wails. The album ends on its strongest note, with the amazing Everything's a Wave, as tones and effects cascade past each other, forming an endlessly shifting and shimmering, hazy, late summer soundscape. It would have been nice, in fact, if this track had been a little longer. At four and half minutes, it's over all too soon. There is however, a bit of a hidden track that follows it, a little instrumental epilude, featuring once again, the piano of Locksley Taylor.
My only quibble is that the CD's cover art could have been more interesting. I recall the deliciously moody cover art of Somnium, and the stark but evocative cover of There's Always Someplace... and I wonder what this cover is supposed to be telling us. That aside, although The Sound of the Colour of the Sun may not be as immediately accessible as Somnium, it is a more complex and mature work, worth the effort, through repeated listens, to discover the subtleties of sound within its depths.
You can visit Sianspheric's web site at: http://www.sianspheric.com.
Their label, Sonic Unyon, has their web site at: http://www.sonicunyon.com.
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald