Arno Sojo a.k.a Sweet Gum returns with his sophomore album, ‘Sustain The Illusion’. Set to be released on the 31st of March 2017 via The Orchard/Plastic Head.
His debut received support from the likes of Mojo, Uncut and The Line Of Best Fit and came to fruition with the help of many brilliant collaborators such as Isobel Campbell (Belle and Sebastian), Earl Harvin (Tindersticks) & Marty Willson-Piper (The Church).
Sojo, this time has reshuffled his cards and chosen to record his latest album almost entirely alone, only receiving help from Irish producer David Oldum. The record takes you on a beautiful, romantic journey through a mind crowded with troubled creatures. The earnest vocals throughout the record confirm Sojo is amongst those who still have faith that music and lyrics can touch the soul, by a way of sincerity, constant reinvention and fine craftsmanship. The use of minimal drum machines and echo-laden guitars throughout the record in my opinion, create an atmosphere of grace whilst the electronic rigidity contrasts perfectly with the elegant strings and soring melodies. His gravelled, controlled vocals hold the record down, ensuring it remains an outstandingly humane and sensitive collection of tracks.
The album’s title nods to Wes Anderson’s acclaimed, ‘‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’’, which itself was based upon Stefan Zweig’s writings on the rise of Nazism in the mid-30’s. Drawing a parallel with the current fiery state of the world and Anderson’s tale of creating love despite all circumstances, Sojo reflects on the challenge of how one can fulfil the need to dream whilst in such a desperate context.
‘Sustain The Illusion’ is a record truly driven by the soul in Sojo’s voice, this particularly shows in the tracks, ‘Someday’, ‘Guilt Trip’ and calming, lullaby, ‘Keeper’ which is a track that lulls you into a complete sense of security and warmth. On the other hand, the track ‘Burn Your Icons’ is the complete opposite side of the spectrum to the soft closing track, it is both thought provoking, sharp and an ironic look at the relevant question of how we view our fallen idols that gives a truly unique perspective on our current society’s traditions.
The first single from the album, ‘Twinkle’ premiered at For Folk’s Sake & is available to stream via Soundcloud here:
Sweet Gum Tree will also be performing live on April 5th in London at The Good Ship. I highly recommend going to see him, every performance is special and captivating.