Sons of Noel and Adrian — Knots
Review by Tom Lawson
With an ever-changing line-up revolving around just a few key members, things were always going to be a little different for Sons of Noel and Adrian’s (SONAA) second album. Knots sees them break away from the acoustic roots of their self-titled 2010 debut to a sound closer to their raucous live performances.
Still in experimental folk territory, opening track The Yard begins with familiar finger-picking guitars, which remain prominent throughout the album. However, they are soon joined by a flute and violin, gradually building to a mix of soaring strings and crashing, thumping percussion. A Hammond organ surprises with an eerie fairground feel on Come Run Fun Stella Baby Mother of the World, while the album’s vocals range from front-man Jacob Richardson’s unmistakeable slur to a unison of wailing voices.
Perhaps better described as a musical cooperative, most of the band’s members share their talents and play in at least one other of the groups that make up the Brighton-based Willkommen Collective. Making Knots a multi-layered and varied album, contributors include Marcus Hamblett from Laura Marling’s band and former of Hope of the States member, Mike Siddell.
There’s a nautical theme throughout. “Hold the boat, hold the rope, and sail us there all together,” they cry on Black Side of the River. Across the album, it feels they are at the helm of rickety old vessel, conquering stormy seas with symbols crashing like breaking waves as the violin notes ebb and flow and vocals howl like the wind. Knots pushes SONAA into exciting new territories, testing the water perhaps, for what is to come.
Knots is out now on Broken Sound/One Inch Badge/Willkommen