Sonic Rade: Album Review

Swiss three-piece Sonic Rade released their self-titled, third album in February 2019.

Having formed in 2010 in Geneva (‘Rade’ being the name of the city’s harbour), the band put out their first record, Let It Out, in 2013. The follow-up, Sideways, arrived in 2016. Their latest output is their first with the Rome-based label, VDM Records and is arguably the most promising to date.

The pop-rock trio, made up of Ricardo Ryan (vocals and guitar), Christian Fonjallaz (bass and backing vocals) and Christophe Grand (drums and backing vocals) describe the new album as a step forward both musically and emotionally. The thirteen-track LP bears this out and is testament to almost a decade of writing and playing as a group.

…there’s a groove underlying the album that gives it the potential to connect with a wider audience.

Although the songs are rock-oriented, there’s a groove underlying the album that gives it the potential to connect with a wider audience than the band’s two prior releases. Both album opener ‘Lost Identity’ and ‘Queen of Hearts’ are fine examples of this, with Ryan’s wavering vocals reminiscent of Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan.

Many of the songs here are bass-lead, giving the overall feeling of dark foreboding a sharper edge. There’s a smattering of synthesised elements, as in ‘In the Deep’, whose jumpy intro riff rolls on into an epic chorus.

The song’s video is a fittingly atmospheric exploration of late night New York City

Lead single ‘Let’s Dream Tonight‘ follows this pattern too. The song’s video is a fittingly atmospheric exploration of late night New York City interspersed with shadowy performance shots. The verse’s muted guitar line under Ryan’s lamenting lyrics builds up the tension before releasing it with gusto. By contrast, ‘Back to the Moon’ is a slower, more ponderous number.

Heard as a whole, Sonic Rade is a satisfying release that will go down well with fans of old school alternative rock. You can listen to the album in full here and on the other usual channels. Be sure to watch the band’s website for live show announcements.

Luke began writing about music for his university paper while studying in England’s cold, post-industrial North. He became a regular reviewer of new releases, live shows, theatre and film, before moving to the big, grey blob of London. He has written indie and electronica reviews for indieBerlin since arriving in Berlin in 2017, while pursuing other freelance writing, editing and communications projects (and struggling to learn German). You can follow Luke here and read his recent reviews here.

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