The obsession with the dramatic, the sometimes tragic, shapes the sounds of Sofamecca's third album 'Children Dust'... Following critical acclaim for their 2002 self titled release 'Sofa Mecca' and 2005 album 'Commuters', Sofamecca continue to boldly break contemporary musical boundaries with their latest endeavour. 'Children Dust' offers a rich diversity of sound and melody, from the orchestral to the down right quirky, alternative-country to folk-rock - a venture into a broad expanse of deeply emotive territories. Sofamecca shape and meld these sounds into the colourful backdrop for vocalist Jason Gann's campfire-like tales. This new album sees Sofamecca adopt a more organic approach to achieving their unique sound, foregoing much of the samples and loops from previous releases in favour of a more intimate live sound. Still expect to be seduced by an assorted array of electro-ambient textures and the like, but on this new release you'll discover a quieter, more refined side to Sofamecca. Conventional western sounds are combined with an array of unusual musical instruments garnered from travels to India and Asia, in a quest to compliment the intrigue of Gann's worldy lyrics. The darkly romantic, almost vaudeville nature of Sofamecca's music is what makes it so well suited for film, with songs featured in cult US TV series 'Dirt', Australian series 'Wilfred' and recent Australian feature film 'Rats and Cats'. Although still a rock album at heart, 'Children Dust' has a broad, cinematic quality. "We approach each new album much in the way I approach a new script", actor, writer and singer Jason Gann says, "We try to infuse all of the drama and twisting plotlines of a well written screenplay, to take the listener on a journey through the album's many scenes and imaginary set locations. To carry them as far as we dare into our personal landscape, until they are well and truly lost", Gann jokes. The making of 'Children Dust' was all the more poignant for the band due to the tragic passing of long time member Shane Dowsett during the album's recording and something that has shaped the album as a whole. Gann comments, "Although lyrically and emotionally 'Children Dust' ventures into some fairly dark territory, hopefully it eventually steers the listener back to the same warm space we discovered upon the album's completion. This is a special album for the band and I think it shows". PAST REVIEWS Millennial mood music... The 21st century thinking person's record collection is a place where eclectic outfits go to hang. You should expect, at the very least, sounds from Mercury Rev and Doves, maybe even vet janglers the Church. Homegrown dabblers Sofa Mecca are down with this - from the Deserter's Songs-like opening of their debut album and onwards, through tracks that shimmer like missing cuts from Doves' Lost Souls, there's a very knowing, jarringly familiar quality to this lush, darkly romantic set. Jason Gann's fragile, otherwordly vocals sound a la Jonathan Donahue or Steve Kilbey, like they're beamed in from Alpha Centauri, and the band has a steady grasp on where ambience ends and real late-night, bruised-hearted atmosphere begins... Jeff Apter, Rolling Stone Magazine AUS Commuters (4/5 POPpoints)... Sofamecca return with the follow up to their 2002 self titled debut. Their latest effort, 'Commuters' is a unique combination of acoustic & electro production, blended with melancholy male vocals. The album still manages to feel uplifting & even romantic in places, with it's slight edge of ambience. Sofamecca have crafted a unique collection of songs which are sure to see their following rapidly grow. Editor, POPrepublic Magazine AUS With song titles as diverse as the songs on this release... Sofamecca had humble origins as the soundtrack composers for a Tropfest short film entry in 2002. Needless to say, the film won (it was called Wilfred, for those of you playing at home) and Sofamecca vocalist Jason Gann also took home the award for best actor at the renowned film festival. The film (and soundtrack) go on to feature at the Sundance and Palm Springs Film Festivals. Fast-forward three years to May 2005. Sofamecca finalise and release their sophomore album, titled Commuters. It's an assortment of theatrical, dancehall waltzes mixed with ambient, atmospherics that tell the story of urban life. It comes as no surprise to discover that several tracks are being considered for upcoming film projects. With tracks such as 'Omar Sharif', 'Ice cream and Bacon' and 'Death in Clover', one could almost devise a plotline to accompany the music. Girl meets boy, girl reveals creepy Omar Sharif obsession, boy has interesting food cravings, and the movie ends with a suspicious but tragic death in a country field. Commuters: The Movie? Quite possible. One thing is certain though. They definitely won't be hiring me to write the screenplay. Editor, Ozmusic Project Website AUS This is Sofamecca's second album to date and a very intriguing creation it is... Their musical stance sees them spanning quite a few categories without really committing to any one style. Ambient would be one way to describe some of the themes but their music has delicate layers and far more interest than mere background wash. The song writing doesn't conform to any established form either, it's more a series of phrases or statements that are loosely linked, but it allows the listener to interpret it in their own way. This music is easy to listen to without being easy-listening, it emerges out of the speakers and drifts in and out of your senses rather than demand attention, it's subtle music and would be a good disc to wind down to late at night or to clear the fog in the morning. Editor, Tsunami Magazine AUS Commuters (5/5 stars)... Describing their album as 'a joyfully moody and darkly compelling view of urban life - a widescreen mix of lush guitars, unruly beats and precocious synths providing the backdrop for the late night melancholy of their latest full length album,' Sofamecca hits hard with a partial lo-fi, fuzzy mix that centers itself inside rich and atmospheric approaches. Blending electric piano and warbly textures flaring up and down, reminiscent of Doves and Gomez, they have a knack for constructing a rich harmonic language punctuated by an equal ability to groove. This band takes the best from Brit pop and indie pop, mixing in their own hybrid of rock, electronic and dream pop. Editor, CD Baby Website USA Music that mirrors your big-city melancholy... Enter a somewhat Tyrone Noonan vocal style that slowly lifts you up to a lush, acoustic, ambient place (enter flittering glimpses of a Buena Vista Social Club influence, especially in 'There and Then'). Jason Ganns' intriguing, moody, meandering vocals in 'Commuters' will make your late urban nights bearable again, if not absolutely divine. Editor, Scene Magazine AUS Australian quartet's debut album... The singer found fame playing a celluloid dog. Sofamecca's widescreen mix of acoustic rock and deft electronic programming hasn't gone unnoticed back home in Brisbane. Their music has been used in movies, while singer/guitarist Jason Gann recently won an award at a film festival for playing a talking dog in the short Wilfred. Here, any pigeon-holes are out as their opening 'Poster of You' clearly indicates. A waltz-time tumble, featuring a theremin, it builds almost psychedelically, setting the scene for the appealing jangle of 'Forest Fires'. And so it goes, guitars sometimes to the foreground, elsewhere, synths. The songs are both strong and diverse, maintaining interest over the long haul. Whatever the standard of the singer's mutt-like acting, the music's certainly worth investigating. Editor, Q Magazine UK They've taken the influences of bands like Coldplay and Doves and made a CD of tasteful acoustic/electronic pop... There's a trendy but tasteful '80s flavour and sophistication too. Not alt. Country, then, and not power pop; but pretty, and pretty good. Editor, Comes With A Smile Magazine UK This four-piece may well have hit upon a genre... The production process for this, their debut apparently began in their front room, and the perfect environment for this lush techno-infused acoustic pop could see them turning full circle. Crediting three of the band with 'programming' on the sleeve might suggest that they're more experimental than they actually are. There are no real boundaries being broken here - the off skittering drum pattern, the occasional bleep and boop among the myriad loops. But that doesn't make it any less delightful. If one were to be brutal, 'Ashen' is a rewrite of The Korgis' classic 'Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime'. But those turned on by the recent wave of French pop, who hark back to the days of Moon Safari, and are sick of waiting for new releases from Phoenix and Tahiti 80, would achieve no small amount of pleasure from Sofamecca. Editor, Bucketfull Of Brains Website UK On their self-titled debut... Sofamecca have combined conventional acoustic sounds and instruments with electronica / sampling and programming to produce an interesting 'fresh' mix of musical styles - well, that's what Laughing Outlaw say, and I'm not inclined to disagree. Although a debut (as an entity), the individual members have been around the music scene for nigh on 10 years - it shows. There's a few really outstanding tracks - British fans will almost certainly enjoy the more acoustic orientated tracks, & outstanding vocals, reminiscent of some of the earlier (better) Britrock releases. Since Britrock seems to have taken a back seat on many peoples buying agenda of late, a 'new' band (despite being 'foreign') on the block might prove the making of Sofamecca over here in the UK. Whilst there's certainly of hint of early Oasis here, perhaps even Beautiful South, I couldn't help but bring up the vague early Church ambience to the album. OK, I didn't really want to bring up an Australian comparison, as I might be accused of pigeon-holing Aussie music - regular visitors to the site will know that this is as far from the truth as could be. For the critics who stereotype Australian music using the likes of Kylie as a template, this album is a slap in the face, and proves categorically that, musical influences notwithstanding, Australia has as diverse musicians as anywhere else in the world. Personally, I would have preferred to hear the band without all the 'electronica' & programming, as it sometimes distracts from the lyrics. For some reason, and in spite of vastly different style, this album brings to mind the debut album from Canadian group 'Jet Set Satellite' ('Blueprint') last year, but this has more to do with the fact that I have a feeling that it (like 'Blueprint') will be largely ignored for the first couple of weeks after release, then you won't be able to find a copy for love nor money. Sofamecca's involvement in film and acting has also allowed some of their songs to be incorporated into several short films. The film 'Wilfred', written and co-produced by Jason Gann and featuring an extract from the song 'Ashen' from Sofamecca's debut, won 'Best Comedy' and 'Best People's Choice' at the Tropfest short film festival and Jason Gann won best actor. (I need to check my facts, but I think 'Wilfred' is due for an airing in the UK (Manchester during the Commonwealth Games) - if it is, I'll post some thing here, and on the Gig Guide page; and I'll see you in the front row... Editor, Musicworkz Ezine UK Sofamecca... The press release that accompanies the new album by Sofamecca is one of those press releases that makes you work hard at the review - there's not that much you can say about them but a lot more that you can say about the music. So the band first - their past lives include involvement in everything from production to film to graphic design, and they've produced songs incorporated into several films down under already. The music, it should come as no surprise then, is almost a combination of all of the above, mixing acoustic guitar driven chords with vaguely disguised electronic sampling and programming. If it doesn't sound immediately appealing, the actual result's a real surprise - sounding like a darker Lightning Seeds or more ambitious David Kitt, the first song on the record (and radio release) 'Poster of You' is a good indication of things to come, a darkly wry track with Baby Bird type jangle guitar accompanying a dark mood which precedes to dominate the whole album, as well as some unusual (in this context) mandolin and 'a free-form 1930s Theremin'. It's this kind of almost art-student innovation that's recurrent throughout the record that might irritate some people, but unlike it sounds, it's all highly infectious too. For the curious at heart, Sofamecca offer an unusual but remarkable release. Editor, Americana-UK Website UK This debut do-it-yourself effort from four experienced artistic veterans is one of the more encouraging and diverse Australian efforts of late... Quieter than Gomez, and more eclectic than Underground Lovers (with plenty of time signature changes). First single 'Poster of You' is a 3/4 jaunt through acoustic guitars, theremin and samples. They demonstrate a sure footed grasp of song structure, changing time for the echo-laden chorus then back again. Prime third cut 'News to Me' reminds me of the best of The Church, echoed, sampled and atmospherically synthed into a late 80's pop hit. So good you're disappointed when it ends. Instrumental 'Asante' breaks Swervedriver guitar noise with rays of synth sunshine, and 'Sideshow' features some fine delicate moments. The only disappointment would be the interruption of some truly memorable sections with the compulsory song changes, but it's all in the name of Art, I suppose. Incredibly experimental and DIY, yet there are still at least 3 or 4 songs from this album which demand heavy Triple J time. One to listen out for. Editor, Scene Magazine AUS Since Oasis began their long, swift slide to mediocrity... Since the Catchers split up; since Damon Albarn swapped 'This Is A Low' for 'Mali Music' fans of ambitiously moody British guitar pop have faced something of a dry spell. Riding to the rescue of everyone who hasn't really loved a record since 1997, however, is an Australian foursome whose precocious debut album has a more-British-than-Brit-Pop sheen about it. Sofamecca may be from the wrong hemisphere for this sort of thing, but they have crafted a delightfully mellow, unforced record that manages to be comfortably familiar without sounding overly derivative. Opener 'Poster Of You' recalls the psychedelic leanings of early Oasis, crossed with the feedback laden blissed-out sound of Mercury Rev, while 'Dead Waitress' is darkly compelling in the manner of The Beautiful South at their tongue-in-cheek best. From gently ironic squealing guitar chords ('Asante') to wistful romanticism ('Saving Space') Sofamecca push all the right buttons, and cover all the bases to boot. A tremendously winning debut, and well worth exploring if 'Heathen Chemistry' leaves you cold. Editor, Pennyblack Website USA Sofamecca are a difficult band to typecast, something they're no doubt proud and justifiably proud of... The self-titled debut release from this grouping of experienced Australian musicians disregards genre boundaries, taking bites and chewing over heavy loops, disassociated vocal samples, acoustic strummers, orchestral surges and a host of other effects over the course of 13 tracks. It's dense but never overbearing, infinitely intriguing and sets itself proudly out on the boundaries, not pop, not rock, not electronica, but paradoxically all of those and more. A four piece formed by musicians who have played in a variety of bands and done the prestigious summer festivals down under, Sofamecca show from the first tune 'Poster of You', their musical experience - starting off with a distant acoustic guitar, a thrust of vocals, drums and quivering theremin blasts out of the speakers. Almost psychedelic, but with Beach Boyesque pop sensibilities, it's a logical choice for the first single. Like Hood's Cold House, the distant-yet-warm sounds of chief vocalist/guitarist Jason Gann help draw the listener in, keeping the ears enthralled especially during 'News To Me' where he comes in and out between vocal interspersions, two keyboards, big electro drum beats and a nasty bass. The lyrics are crafty - 'Hope it didn't begin the way it's sure to end' from 'Saving Space' just a sample from what sound like finely honed wordscapes and maybe next album the band could have a full lyric sheet to take advantage of this. The final track, 'Instigated' is almost sing-a-long, a chorus of 'la-las' dancing in the background and the dual keyboards getting a full workout over the three and a half minutes and bringing a resolving finale to the experience. It comes as no surprise the band have been involved in providing music for film scores, the seeking yet somehow still alienated melodies perfect for the big screen. It's rewarding to see a band this resolutely independent exercising full creative control and producing powerful, complex yet inviting music and it's a great slap in the face to those who like to pigeonhole Australian music. Editor, Logged Off Website USA.