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SONVER – SonVer (Disconnected)

Posted: May 20th, 2006, by Andrew Bryers

SonVer (yes that’s how they spell it) are Joanna Quail and Ben McLees. She plays cello, he plays guitar, they both do funny things with computers and they’ve played the Royal Albert Hall, apparently, which is frankly more impressive than anything I’ve ever done. In their publicity picture they look well moody.

This, their debut album, is a dense atmospheric, instrumental affair, using layer upon layer of gloomy acoustic and electric cello, chiming guitar, deft touches of electronica and the occasional skittery beat to conjure up images of dark forests and half-remembered nightmares. Sometimes abstract, atonal or ambient, always weirdly unsettling, the music at times recalls, the spooky bits in A Silver Mt Zion/Godspeed… tracks, and at others captures that instinctive sense of wrongness in Aphex Twin’s ambient stuff. There are touches of baroque and celtic, and moments of transcendental wonder, like when “Last Thursday” bursts forth into peals of jubilant melodic noise and you know that it’s doing that post rock thing of wiring directly into your emotional centres in a way that no skinny kid with an acoustic guitar ever could.

The other thing about this album is that it’s a unique opportunity to ascertain your own personal cello saturation threshold. Mine, alas, is about two thirds of the way through when I catch myself longing for an oboe or, well, anything to break the pattern. Nevertheless, this is an accomplished, enthralling and occasionally startling album. Go sit somewhere spooky, dim the lights, stick it on, and give yourself a weird-on.

SonVer’s Website

Andrew Bryers

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