Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records
Independent rock band Soraia released its third full-length studio recording this week. The 11-song record, Dig Your Roots was released March 13 through Wicked Cool Records comes more than two-and-a-half years after the band released its sophomore album Dead Reckoning. The 44-minute presentation is a work that will appeal to the band’s already established fan base just as much as it will to those who might be less familiar with the band’s growing body of work. That is proven through the album’s musical and lyrical content, both of which will be addressed here momentarily. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be addressed later. Each noted item is important in its own right to the whole of Dig Your Roots. All things considered, they make Dig Your Roots a presentation that music lovers across the board will dig.
Up-and-coming independent rock band Soraia’s latest full-length studio recording Dig Your Roots is a work whose appeal is easily far-reaching. That is proven in part through its varied musical arrangements that are featured throughout the album. The record opens with a catchy indie-garage rock style arrangement in ‘Dangerous.’ Guitarist Nick Seditious’ performance in this composition and that of his band mates — drummer Brianna Sig, bassist Travis Smith and vocalist ZouZou Mansour – makes the song in whole, comparable to works from the likes if The Donnas. Sig’s drum fills and time keeping, Seditious’ catchy hooks and Mansour’s sharp vocal delivery join with Smith’s low-end to make this song’s arrangement an instant hit for the band. It’s just one of the album’s most notable works. ‘Wild Woman,’ which immediately follows ‘Dangerous,’ boasts its own infectious groove. The arrangement in this case is a blues-based work complete with organ and familiar southern-ground guitar solo from Seditious and gritty vocal delivery from Mansour. Sig’s time keeping, Smith’s work on bass and the addition of the shaker add even more of a fun touch to the whole that fleshes out the arrangement. Each musician’s performance works with that of the others to make the song in whole another fun composition that is certain to stick in listeners’ heads. ‘Evergreen,’ the album’s third track, presents a stoner rock style sound in its verses that will easily appeal to fans of bands, such as Clutch, Royal Blood and Queens of the Stone Age. The song’s chorus sections, on the other hand, is more of a garage rock sound. The two sounds together make the song overall stand well on its own merits.
As Dig Your Roots continues to progress through its run, the band takes a distinctly different turn in its fourth song, ‘Foxfire.’ This song presents an arrangement that is a stark contrast to the record’s first trio of songs. It is far more reserved and contemplative, boasting a song that lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Fleetwood Mac. The band’s familiar garage rock sound returns as the album nears its midway point in ‘Darkness (Is My Only Candle).’ While that familiar sound returns, it should be noted that the band doesn’t just rehash the arrangements from the album’s early songs. Rather, it holds its own identity that is driven dually through the work of Seditious and Sig. Mansour’s vocal delivery here and the addition of the organ line adds a little extra subtle touch to the whole that makes the song that much more enjoyable. Some might call it a stretch, but the song’s chorus might even remind some listeners of Toad The Wet Sprocket’s hit song ‘All Fall Down’ with its chord changes. As if that mix of sounds isn’t enough to generate some interest, the band’s take on Sinead O’Conner’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ shows even more, the importance of this album’s musical arrangements. It stays true to its source material, but at the same time, also gives the classic tune a new life and identity. ‘Superman is Gone’ and ‘Way That You Want It’ return that already noted garage rock sound that has made the band so popular among its fans. ‘Still I Rise’ builds on that sound while also adding a bit of pop rock sound to the mix, adding even more interest to the record.
When Dig Your Roots nears its end, it gives listeners what is arguably one of its absolute best arrangements of all in ‘Don’t Have You.’ This soulful arrangement tugs at listeners’ heart strings when it is set against its accompanying lyrical content, which will be addressed a little later. That is thanks in large part to Mansour’s aching vocal delivery. The way she delivers the song’s words shows such emotion through the dynamic changes. Seditious’ guitar work adds even more strength to the foundation formed by Mansour’s vocal delivery. That is evident in both the song’s more controlled moments and its bombastic bridge, which leads into the song’s final moments. The control in the piano and the string arrangements adds even more to that impact. All things considered, those elements make this work a presentation that holds its own so easily against its counterparts, both indie and mainstream.
As Dig your Roots reaches its finale in ‘Euphoria,’ the emotional power of the music moves in the exact opposite direction in the best way possible. This slow, bluesy powerhouse work is uplifting thanks again to Seditious and Mansour. Seditious shines once again in the solo performance while Sig adds even more power in the fills and time keeping. Smith’s work on the bass is a perfect counter to Seditious’ work. In the case of this whole, this is one of those unexpected works that is a perfect fit for so many sports networks’ promos whenever sports should finally return. That is known especially as that music is joined with the song’s lyrical content. Keeping this in mind along with the engagement and entertainment brought by the variety in the rest of the album’s arrangement, little to no doubt is left as to the importance of that content. Of course, as important as the album’s musical content is to its presentation, it is only one portion of what makes the album stand out. The lyrical content, as already noted multiple times, plays its own key role to that presentation.
The lyrical content featured throughout the course of Dig Your Roots covers as ground as the record’s musical content. Case in point is the content in ‘Wild Woman.’ Mansour talked about the song in a recent interview, stating it is a female empowerment piece.
I had been listening to this female preacher talking about being “born inside the wild” and not knowing where you were – but that strong women thrived in the wild,” she said. “I fell in love with that idea of birthing yourself – which is one way to put it – over and over when you enter into situations you’re uncomfortable in, or have never been in. An added bonus is the notion of being a “wild woman” in that way was a different take on the idea I think social consciousness has on being a “wild woman.” Empowering instead of denigrating.”
The band also takes on deep emotional issues in ‘Foxfire,’ by comparing it to alleged glowing fungus that, according to stories, leads people astray in the forest. Mansour also addressed that matter in her interview.
“Travis (Smith) had this intriguing idea of “foxfire” for a title line,” she said. “I didn’t know what it meant, so he told me all about it. It’s this phosphorescent light emitted by certain fungi on decaying timber. It’s beautiful when it glows, but it isn’t real, it’s a momentary thing. And when people would see it in the woods, many got lost being guided by it. We thought it would be interesting to write a song about depression from the standpoint of “foxfire” – or these glimmering thoughts that lead you astray and only give the illusion that everything’s alright. The struggle to believe in any one thought, to characterize the confusion of that type of struggle from the speaker’s point of view.”
‘Don’t Have You’ takes on the familiar topic of a broken relationship, but in a slightly different manner than usual, as pointed out by Mansour.
“This was about my own heartbreak, and that little feeling of hope and possibility still inherent in the relationship is really powerful in the middle of the song,” she said. “It was Geoff’s idea to speak that part instead of sing it, and I was thrilled with how it came out.”
All three of the songs noted here are just a glimpse into the variety of topics discussed through this record’s lyrical content. When these topics and the album’s other lyrical themes are considered alongside the album’s musical content, the whole of the record’s content more than makes the album worth hearing. While the record’s content does a lot to ensure its appeal, it is just one part of what makes the record stand out. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.
Dig Your Roots starts strong in ‘Dangerous’ and maintains its energy through ‘Wild Woman’ and ‘Evergreen’ before pulling back momentarily in ‘Foxfire.’ The energy picks up again briefly in ‘Darkness (Is My Only Candle)’ before pulling back again in ‘Nothing Compares 2 U.’ Of course from there, the energy rises again in ‘Superman is Gone’ and continues through its follow-up, ‘Way That You Want It’ before going in a slightly different direction in ‘’Still I Rise.’ It pulls back in the song’s opening bars before picking right back up again,’ essentially maintaining the upbeat energy from the song’s predecessors. Things take a slower turn in ‘Don’t Have You,’ and even with that slower nature, it is still a very powerful song in its own right thanks to the emotion that translates so well through the combined musical and lyrical content. ‘Euphoria,’ which closes out the album, continues that different slow yet powerful energy, leaving listeners feeling fulfilled. Looking back on all of this, it is obvious that the album’s energy rises and falls at all of the right points, ensuring that much more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment. Keeping that in mind, the engagement and entertainment ensured through the album’s well-planned out sequencing proves just as important as the album’s content overall. All things considered, they make the album overall one of this year’s top new independent albums.
Soraia’s latest full-length studio recording Dig Your Roots is a record that audiences are certain to dig. That is proven through the record’s combined musical and lyrical content, and its sequencing. The musical content is varied, as is its lyrical content. Together, they give listeners plenty to appreciate. When that content is considered along with the record’s sequencing, the elements in whole, make Dig Your Roots a presentation that is one of this year’s top new independent albums. It is available now. More information on Dig Your Roots is available online along with all of Soraia’s latest news and more at:
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