It’s a snowy night and you’re in an old pub that has stood unchanged for 200 years. Luke DeRoy and Molly Mehlsack will provide the perfect soundtrack for your evening. The product of the duo is SONA, which released their debut EP Terribly Tangled in August, 2016. DeRoy and Mehlsack, based in Boston, Massachusetts, met while both studying songwriting at Berklee College of Music. In five, richly orchestrated and smooth folk-soul tracks, they express the struggle to change one’s life.
DeRoy and Mehlsack describe an immediate musical chemistry when first meeting. Indeed, their sound contains a sense of harmony and ease. They sound like best friends who have been huddled around a piano singing together for most of their lives. Mehlsack takes the vocal lead on most tracks with a caramel coated, warm voice that melts into the guitar strums and piano notes.
SONA references vocal influences such as Adele, Regina Spector and Amy Winehouse, particularly for their big, consuming sounds. Mehlsack’s voice has a full-bodied, and dramatic quality that is similar to these influences.
A great sense of control can also be heard in Mehlsack’s voice, as though in direct conversation with the other instruments and DeRoy’s vocals. Strong currents of folk can be heard on this EP. In style, SONA could be compared to an artist like Norah Jones, or even a new wave folk artist such as The Head and the Heart, whose harmonies are similar to SONA’s.
Through their lyrics, SONA expresses the desire to change one’s life, but fighting to do so. They muse on relationships and unhappiness. Rarely do they get specific. On the title track “Terribly Tangled” SONA muses “Oh but my heart says no, but my feet say go.”
Throughout most of the EP, SONA remains in safe, vague territory, verging on the overly dramatic. The rich quality in the vocals and instrumentals provide their songs with the emotional impact that the lyrics lack. With fantastically powerful vocals and addictive melodies, SONA will be the perfect soundtrack to the coming winter months.
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