The Sonic Dawn have been making a name for themselves in the psychedelic rock scene, with their musical mission clearly set in the psychedelia of the late 60s. Their fourth album ‘Enter the Mirage’ is an impressive effort from the Copenhagen trio, with catchy rock songs leaving you in good spirits throughout. Its unmistakeable and unapologetic vintage feel is one of the most endearing aspects about this listen.
The album begins with two short, sharp blasts of feel-good power pop, before ‘Loose Ends’ stretches into Pink Floyd territory, with an extended jam section that makes use of sitars in order to allow the listener to feel that they really are in the midst of an experience. The intro of the title track has more psychedelic weirdness, drifting in and out of tempo to almost disturb the listener before it settles properly. The Sonic Dawn make the most of out of studio effects on songs such as ‘Children of the Night’, where reverse effects in the intro give a sensation of disconnect, or in ‘Join the Dead’, where the multi-layered vocals float and fall in and out of the mix. What was of course experimental in the late 60s, where their sound comes from, is now tried and tested in the 21st century, and they enjoy the benefits of modern production – albeit with their vintage style.
The guitar work is tasteful, capturing the essence of lead guitar playing in the 1960s, and there is plenty of organ work in the mix to offer even more authenticity. Frontman Emil Bureau’s lyrics are carefree and soft, as the album is about freedom, inspired by his father’s death and the loss of his job (and then his will to serve to that kind of working, grey lifestyle). Considering it a ‘dead end’, the album sounds like a release and a rebirth – with the recommendation of ingesting plenty of mind-altering substances. ‘Hits of Acid’, for example, tells us to ‘listen to hits of acid, float away on a rainbow’, and ‘you need to relax, man, smoke some weed and listen to some wax’. Not one for the straight edge or traditionalist types, then…
‘Enter the Mirage’ is full of old-school, positive energy. Compared to the band’s previous efforts, it is more memorable and instant than anything that they have released before. It stands well in their discography, but also in the scene that they are in. With many bands emulating the harder, grittier and darker sounds of the 70s, the modern-day cohort of proto-metal bands following the footsteps of Motorhead, Sabbath, AC/DC or Thin Lizzy feels a little over-saturated. It’s invigorating to hear a vintage-type band do something else. Of course, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before, but they stand out just a little more on the crowded scene for this reason.
This album is worth your time if you like rock from its golden age; the songs are crafted beautifully, with catchy, feel-good melodies. What works even more strikingly is their ability to stand out, by concentrating on a late 60s psych sound with impressive focus – a style that many revivalist bands seem to have forgotten, if everyone else hasn’t.