SONAA are back on the road and will be releasing a brand new collection of songs this year - their second long player, Knots. The band's sophomore album sees them breaking away from the acoustic roots of their debut album which lead them to tour twice with Mumford & Sons and support Laura Marling at Royal Festival Hall. The Sons' immersion in folk music was always more informed by guitarists like Dave Pajo, David Grubbs and Jeff Parker than by traditionalists. These influences, rooted in the city of ChicagoÕs pre-millennial post-rock, jazz and avant-pop scenes, are explored on Knots resulting in an album much closer to the band's live sound.The duelling fingerpicked classical guitars are still there, but they're put through cranked up, needle-in-the-red valve amps. There's still a bit of banjo, but it's played with an e-bow and a slide so it sounds like a haunted Hammond organ. And there's plenty of actual Hammond, giving the track "Come Run Fun Stella Baby Mother of the World" a kind of fairground darkness borrowed from Liars or Captain Beefheart.Elsewhere the fragile strings of "Black Side of the River" evoke the still sadness of humanity epitomised by Arvo Prt augmented by the weighty piano chords of Earth; "Big Bad Bold" sounds like These New Puritans started an earthquake in a burning symphony hall; "Cathy Come Home" demonstrates the band's love of drone, unison and extended guitar techniques and ends up sounding somewhere between Tortoise and the scores of Danny Elfman; and aching closer "Heroine" sounds like Robert Wyatt sped up a track from Twin Peaks for Will Oldham to sing over.At times soft and orchestral, at times crass and loud, Knots is always infused with beauty and tenderness: soulful, taunt, honed and with a new found love of kosmiche experimentation.KnotsÕ expanded sonic tapestry is marshaled and woven with growing stature by SONAAÕs chief song-writer, Jacob Richardson, whose meditative lyrical concepts and melodic craftsmanship mark him out as musician of genuine depth and gravitas whilst remaining as arcane and beguiling as Palace.Rejecting notions of a fixed line-up, Sons of Noel and Adrian is more of a sprawling musical whirlpool centered around a few key members than a traditional band - a bit like Broken Social Scene, with whom two Sons toured last year as their horn section. The band members make up most of the renowned Willkommen Collective that spawned The Leisure Society, and the various members lend their talents freely to everyone from Damo Suzuki to the Laura Marling, with one Son, a full time contributor to her band and as many as four playing with her on certain shows including last year's Glastonbury Festival Pyramid Stage performance.Such selfless creative interdependence is at the heart of the Willkommen Collective and Sons of Noel and Adrian. The results of their musical co-operative have yielded a sophomore effort that transcends their debut and positions them as one of 2012Õs most unique and thrilling propositions: Knots see SONAA charting new, unexplored aural terrain as immersive an experience on stage as it on record.
> Can I consider Sons of Noel and Adrian as some sort of folk supergroup
> from the Brighton musicscene?
JACOB: WE'RE LARGE IN NUMBERS AND SUPER IN GERTH
MARCUS: We do share members with lots of other Brighton and London bands, yes.
> Are there any bands you compare yourself with? The music seems to have
> more in common with the nu folk movement in the US than with British
> folk music.
MARCUS: I don't think of the band as a folk band, we were branded as
such because we use lots of acoustic instruments. Certainly we were
influenced by Will Oldham and Bill Callahan, but the guitar technique
at the heart of the band was I think more inspired by Chicago based
post-rock musicians like Doug McCombs, Dave Pajo, David Grubbs, Jeff
and Sam Prekop. This is perhaps more noticeable on our newer
> What link is there with Mumford and Sons?
JACOB: WE DID SOME TOURING WITH THEM, EMMA DATED TED , WE WENT
SHOOTING AND GAVE SOME MEDICINE TO SOME CALFS
MARCUS: We've supported them on a few tours and our cellist Will has
played with them on a couple of tours. They are nice young men.
> How do you practice when most members of the group are also active in
> other bands?
I PRACTICE BY MYSELF
> Loads of traditional en non-traditional instruments are played in Sons
> of Noel and Adrian. How do you choose which instrument is suitable for
> your music?
JACOB: MOST OF THE TIME THE SONG WILL DECIDE
MARCUS: Increasingly, we like to make sounds that haven't been heard
before, so we've been exploring. We're open to using any instrument or
anything we can make sound with.
> How come that some songs seem to be quite short and poppy, like for
> instance Go Jo Jee, and otherwise you take almost ten minutes for a
> song, like Damien?
JACOB: GO JO JEE WAS ABOUT A DYING FOX THAT BLED SLOWLY FROM ITS
MOUTH, MY DAD FOUND HIM IN THE ROAD AND BOUGHT HIM HOME. WE HELPED HIM
PASS ON. I WANTED IT TO SOUND EVANGELICAL AND JOYOUS
DAMIEN WAS THE LEADER OF THE BOYS WOLF-PACK , HE NEEDED A LONGER
I GUESS ITS THE IMAGERY IN MY HEAD THAT DICTATES THE MUSIC
> When composing your music, is there some sort of atmosphere or feeling
> you're looking for? Because most of the music sounds quite dark.
JACOB: IF YOU THINK ITS DARK YOUR NOT LISTENING TO IT- NO OFFENCE INTENDED
MARCUS: I think just because there are so many of us and we are such
good friends, to me the music always sounds very human and celebrates
our strengths and weaknesses.
> Can you tell something more about your latest album, Knots? (That is
> because I always like to mention what is the latest album released by
> the band interviewed.)
JACOB: ONE SONG IS CALLED 'COME RUN FUN STELLA BABY MOTHER OF THE WORLD'
Marcus: The first song is about grandparents, the second is about
teenage pregnancy, the third is about the shaft of life, the fourth is
about alcohol abuse, the fifth is about divorce, the sixth is about
mental health, the eighth is about arson, the ninth is about love. The
album is 2598 seconds long.