This past Friday, TesseracT released a fun-sized but sonically massive album by the name of “Sonder”. This was done through the good people over at Kscope as a follow up to the critically acclaimed 2015 effort “Polaris”. It also functions as Daniel Tompkins second album back with the band after they played roulette a bit on the vocal front around 2011-2014.
You can give a listen to tracks from the album via the video streams provided down below. You may also grab “Sonder” for your collection by following THIS LINK. As to be expected, it’s available on most major online music platforms right now!
Now, I wouldn’t usually touch on each individual track during an album review but considering there’s only 7 present (8 depending on how you look at it), I’ll shed some words on each cut… So let’s get to it and dig in to “Sonder”!
The record rips open with what was the first single in “Luminary”. The track brings all the signature groove we have come to expect over the years from a band such as TesseracT. There’s some very nice, very interesting passages twirling to and fro here. It’s a generally melodic track which is a quality that may put hooks in unsuspecting ears freshly tapped into “Sonder”. Nice way to open the record.
“King” was the second album single and just an all-around epic cut from the LP. It was picked out of the track list for the first “Sonder” music video which you can view in all it’s glory just below. The middle section especially hits me right in the feels. It also features the first, powerful, belted harsh vocals from sir Daniel Tompkins on the record. It all wraps up in a beautifully done, ethereal light and a sense of wonder.
This bleeds into some endearing atmospheric work on the track “Orbital” which somewhat appropriately brings a lot of space into the ears of listeners with ever increasing swells of sound. It’s a lovely little nugget of a palette cleanser to transition smoothly into the rest of this album.
Next up – “Juno”! Not to be confused with capitol of Alaska… I’ll see myself out… after this review! This track has some huevos, crashing in with walls of sound that transition into some very tight groove n’ bass driven funkery. Beware the chicken neck between any unsuspecting head banging sessions. There’s also a nice melodic flip towards the middle. This is fairly complex and enjoyable number enriching the track list.
Well before the album’s release, the band announced a campaign to accept fan submitted field recordings and sounds. CLICK HERE if you’re curious to learn more about all that. Now, I would assume that started to come into play on the album’s longest two-part track “Beneath My Skin / Mirror Image” which clocks in at nearly 11 and a half minutes. It features some strange yet interesting sounds on and off. The first half (of the first half) is very calming and the second is a bit heavier. This transitions back to the calm on what is presumably the “Mirror Image” half. There’s a nice flow between these two as the band shows off their songwriting chops once again.
“Smile” is a track that we’ve heard for quite some time now, having been released as single back in mid-2017. However! The album version is quite different in some regards, bringing some more umph as the band has had time to age with the track through several mediums. The end results here are very nice! It ends up as one of the heaviest songs on “Sonder”.
Finally, we get hit with “The Arrow”. It’s a nice shot from these British based long bowmen of prog. It makes for a memorable closer without wasting much damn time despite what the lyrics may have you think.
Speaking of which! My primary criticism of “Sonder” is probably that there’s not much to it in terms of length when stacked against the discography. Correct me if I’m wrong but this is the shortest TesseracT LP to date at just over 35 minutes. Since we went into it already hearing 3 of 7 tracks (despite one essentially being two tracks) it felt like re-treading ground to a point. Obviously, this is a personal gripe that will be irrelevant to future and first time listeners but that’s how I feel as a bit of a TesseracT stan. Other than that, some moments of the record may come off as a bit sleepy and this probably won’t be for everyone. In the end, it doesn’t even matter to most TesseracT fans because it’s a great album at the core.
The production on this album is (not too surprisingly) damn near perfect. Everything sounds very clean without reaching the point of being sterile. As per usual, the homegrown mastering skills of guitarist Acle Kahney are superb on this front. Producer / engineer Aidan O’Brien should be commended as well.
Every member brings a stand out performance to the table. It’s been known for a while that TesseracT has several boatloads of talent and they utilize it to the nth power by slapping together a damn fine album.
To sum things up here, I’m feeling somewhere between an 8 and a 9 on this album. In my opinion, it’s not the best in this band’s stacked discography but it’s beyond great within its own right and will likely remain in rotation over here for a while. It’s easy to recommend this one to the more modern prog fans of this realm. Once again, you can check it out through the video streams above and grab the album through a number of sources by CLICKING HERE.
In other TesseracT news, it’s worth noting that they’re touring the United States with Plini and Astronoid right now! You can find dates for this by CLICKING HERE. Furthermore, they’ll be trekking around Europe with Between The Buried And Me and Plini later this year. Likewise, You can find all the dates for that by CLICKING HERE.
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