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The Somnambulist – Some More Songs Lost In Themselves Review

If Frank Zappa and Sonic Youth had a jam session.

What does The Somnambulist sound like?

Frank Zappa and Sonic Youth as a rock duo enjoying a guest bassist to jam with.

The review of The Somnambulist – Some More Songs Lost In Themselves

I should want upfront that The Somnambulist isn’t the easiest German music project to listen to. They are difficult to define – even more so when their latest bass player left the project leaving a Leon (drums) and Marco (vocals and guitar) with a playground of ideas to explore. The upshot was that The Somnambulist recorded two separate EP’s and brought in guest musicians to loosen up their feel. The result is an EP that flips around from style and mood like a band in search of a home. Oddly, that searching and inquisitive nature becomes their defining trait.

The Somnambulist

Paul Peuker joined the duo for this EP and his bass skills absolutely shine throughout the release. In particular, the track ‘Flowers From Where You Go’ lets the bass lead the trio in an incantation that takes them the long way around a riff. The genres switch up quite often but one thing that doesn’t is the bands’ penchant for unusual chord structures or electric guitar embellishments. ‘All The Strain Is Over’ feels like a trio unwinding and just letting rip post-lockdown to let their angst out. It’s almost freeform in some places with some interesting radio tuning effects thrown in. The flip side is the 90’s pop-rock styled closer ‘The Freewheelers’ where the same two chords ring out like tension as guitar noodles away in the background. It’s easily the most approachable piece on the EP and a decent place to start if you are new to the band. ‘Not A Song For You’ is as freeform as the band gets. The chord structure is angular, off-kilter and purposefully avant-garde and so is the singing. Even the drum timing sounds like it wants to be in a jazz freestyle. Maybe it’ll grow on me but I found it difficult to find a way in.

One track absolutely stood out to me though and that’s ‘Lowerin Sun’. This takes the unusual chords, and idiosyncratic guitar riffs and smoothes them into something more akin to late 90’s MTV-era rock. There’s a structure and form that’s missing from the other tracks and real purpose to it that I really enjoyed. The rest of the EP was definitely an interesting listen, with various surprises and twists along the way. However, this was the song that made me want to write about The Somnambulist.

Perhaps it is ironic that the EP’s title reflects exactly how I feel this EP comes across too. It’s as if the songs are being obtuse for obtuse sake and not wanting to be discovered. I think whilst some of The Somnambulist’ – Some More Songs Lost In Themselves’s output isn’t for me, I think fans of Frank Zappa will enjoy hearing a band clearly ignoring general music boundaries and setting their own trends. For that, they get my resounding respect and I hope they find more ears out there for their music and next collaboration EP coming soon.

Recommended track: Lowerin’ Sun

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The Somnambulist - Some More Songs Lost in Themselves



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