The Somnambulants | Paper Trail

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Electronic: Synthpop Electronic: Electroclash Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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Paper Trail

by The Somnambulants

Synth-pop meets indie-pop. This is a blend of pop songwriting genres wrapped in a synthetic wrapper. Spacious, danceable, and memorable.
Genre: Electronic: Synthpop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Intro / Beat Down
3:05 album only
2. Take It On
3:14 album only
3. Water Colors
4:45 album only
4. Burning Daylight
3:11 album only
5. Treat Me Right
1:50 album only
6. The Facts
3:50 album only
7. Eyes On the Road
3:10 album only
8. The Strip
3:28 album only
9. Close Second
3:45 album only
10. We Brought It Home
2:48 album only
11. Beat Down (Radio Edit)
2:32 album only


Album Notes
The Somnambulants are:
Joseph White: Bass, vocals, synths, programming
Channing Sargent: Synth, vocals

Contrary to their title, The Somnambulants are anything but sleepy. They have been making an energetic, dance-friendly, and unique brand of indie/electro-pop since 2000.

While recording Paper Trail, the girl/boy duo kept to their own rule: avoid writing of “electro” songs. With one or two exceptions, they worked with rock, blues, or pop compositions and arranged them using electronic instruments. The resulting album is a mix of songwriting styles wrapped in a single synthetic wrapper, with each track as unique and memorable as the next. The Somnambulants “are more indie-pop-influenced than most of their contemporaries, and that, I think, is a good thing.” (Village Voice)

Stylistically, The Somnambulants are even more driven by cinematic influence, as evidenced in their lyrical imagery and spacious production. Joseph White built the first Somnambulants songs from music soundtrack pieces composed during his tenure as a film student. In fact, their name was taken from the somnambulist character – Cesare - in the 1920 German film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It’s fitting, therefore, that the title track from their previous album, Evacuation, appeared in the soundtrack for the Oscar-nominated film Half Nelson (Lakeshore Records).

Joseph White acts as producer, lead singer, and bass player. The duo’s second half is keyboardist & singer Channing Sargent. “If you've seen the Somnambulants perform, no doubt you've walked away charmed by (and maybe a little smitten with) the onstage relationship between White and Channing Sargent” (Jersey Independent Music/ Together, they’ve shared bills with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Tracy & the Plastics, Dirty on Purpose, Au Revoir Simone, My Favorite, Asobi Seksu, My Robot Friend, and other up-and-coming indie bands.

Founded in Brooklyn, NYC, The Somnambulants are now based in San Francisco.



to write a review

John Book

Music for a new world, a world that needs to be renewed in sound
I'm listening to The Somnambulants and their album Paper Trail (Clairaudience Collective Recordings), and while I found the music of this duo (Channing Sargent on keyboards and vocals, Joseph White on vocals and bass, and serves as their producer) to be interesting, it runs out of steam mid-way through.

They sound like every other new wave/post-punk group from London circa 1980/1981, and there was a lot of gloom and doom to make any Joy Division or Gary Numan fan smile. I really like the production work and instrumental, but I just found White's vocals not to my liking, although I found if I placed the music in a different mindstate, it worked very well. It sounds like the music of a sullen city dweller, but if I brought myself to an Irish shoreline or a summer field trip on a South African coast, it would take me elsewhere. That I rather enjoyed, the trip out of the downtrodden. Now, ask me about this album tomorrow and I'll probably tell you it's one of the more interesting flashbacks to a techno-pop era that many of us are still fascinated with, although with much of a presence in the modern world with the use of samples which upgrades the sounds to a brand new world. The next day, I may weep.