Sons Of Nothing | Clarity

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Rock: Progressive Rock Rock: Modern Rock Moods: Type: Sonic
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Clarity

by Sons Of Nothing

A cornucopia of disturbing concepts, wrapped in a sparkling cocoon of washed, crushed rock. Take as needed to relieve musical congestion, and welcome the respite of an uncluttered mind.
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Death Or Something Like It
1:57 $0.99
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2. Snapshot
3:08 $0.99
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3. The Midas Touch
4:25 $0.99
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4. Nowhere To Go
3:44 $0.99
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5. Positively Evil
4:11 $0.99
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6. Clarity
6:26 $0.99
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7. Mr Serious
6:36 $0.99
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8. Solitary World
6:12 $0.99
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9. Juneau
1:58 $0.99
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10. W04
3:58 $0.99
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11. Saving Grace
6:32 $0.99
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12. Visiting Mussolini
8:57 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
CLARITY, the third album from Sons Of Nothing, forges a more solid musical identity for the band than previous releases. Though still a collection of varied moods and modes, it represents a major tightening of SoN's notoriously eclectic sound. Unlike the One Left Turn EP, which had been recorded over a short period in a conventional studio, the sounds of CLARITY were captured by SoN's own recording gear and utilizing a more flexible timetable. The band members shared production and songwriting credit and fluidly swapped vocal and instrumental performances, building the synergy of every new track from the ground up.

The rewards of such an approach can be heard in how comfortably the album's diverse musical threads are woven together. From the haunting orchestrations of "Death Or Something Like It" to the frenetic twists and turns of "Positively Evil," from to the surreal electronica of "Juneau" to the guitar-hero grind of "Mr Serious," a cohesive musical journey unfolds. The sonic wanderlust is also tied together by the album's lyrical themes, which combine differing moments of clarity (the jubilation of "Snapshot," the seething of "W04," the existentialism of "Solitary World") with commentary on the search for such moments ("Saving Grace," the yearning title track) and the price that is sometimes paid for achieving them (the mini-epic album closer "Visiting Mussolini.")

SoN always claimed to have an album-oriented perspective, and CLARITY provides the proof.

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"Original flights of spacey prog-pop."
-Bill Frost, Salt Lake City Weekly

"A perfect mix between melodic rock of the classic kind and progressive rock."
-Gabor Fabian, Strutter Magazine

"It's like Marillion and Guided by Voices jamming in Syd Barrett's basement after listening to the Rush catalog."
-Tommy Hash, YtseJam

"Varied and theatrical songs...dark and brooding, but with a glimmer of hope. SoN have taken their influences and modernized them to fit their own experience and personalities."
-Andrew Glassett, SLUG Magazine

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Reviews


to write a review

Paul Holt

Great songs and great sound from a great band!
When I got my copy of the new SONS OF NOTHING CD “Clarity”, I have to admit, I was not expecting much. Nothing against Thom Bowers or his musical or songwriting abilities (or those of his bandmates) – it’s just that I’ve never heard a ‘local’ band’s CD, especially those that were produced by the band itself, that was anything more than amateur-sounding. Not once, in 20 years. And I’ve heard plenty of them.

Bands in general cannot produce themselves. Even if they are a great live band, they don’t have the objectivity (clarity, if you will) to see what needs improvement, and they tend to settle on mediocre performance or sub-par recording. This creates the amateur sound you hear on most home-grown CDs.

This CD, my friends, is anything BUT amateurish. This CD is outstanding, and is as professional sounding as anything you’d hear generated by a major record label.

Firstly, the packaging was first-rate. Great attention to artistic detail, mesmerizing cover shot, professional all the way.

I put on the CD, and this is what I heard:

1) DEATH OR SOMETHING LIKE IT - The first 20 seconds of the CD itself were frankly very disappointing to me upon first listen. Sounded like a poor-man’s copy of COLOUR MY WORLD by Chicago, with an extremely similar piano figure playing over simulated LP scratch sounds. But that 21st second and beyond – WOW! I knew this was not going to be like those other ‘local band’ CDs. This 2-minute instrumental does a great job of setting up the work – great feel, great sound, and some interesting sustained guitar.

2) SNAPSHOT - Easily my favorite song on the CD, it’s very reminiscent of mid-career Kansas, without being a direct rip-off. It’s the first of many examples of outstanding lyrical content, impeccably utilized changing time signatures, and outstanding musicianship on this CD.

3) THE MIDAS TOUCH – Begins with a beautifully-recorded acoustic guitar and an David Gilmour-esque vocal, both very full and pleasant sounding, and mutates into a harder-edged tune. Again, great lyrics abound (“I’ve become an extra in a story no one ever told”), and some excellent wah-wah guitar work by Tim Hollinger.

4) NOWHERE TO GO – Parts of this song are very STONE TEMPLE PILOTS-ish, again without being a rip-off. Juli Holt does a lovely job with the vocals in the verses, switching to harmony vocals for the choruses – a great device that works well here. This song features the first of several appearances of the outstanding saxophone work of John Flanders.

5) POSITIVELY EVIL – The second instrumental of the CD, this song is a great exercise in arrangement. It has several distinct sections, and highlights the musical abilities of every bandmember. Thom’s basswork particularly shines here, and drummer Daryn Campbell is solid and provides the perfect motivating force behind the song.

6) CLARITY – Knowing Thom and Company’s love for Pink Floyd, I was waiting for the “Floydish” song, and it appears before my ears in the form of the title song from the CD. From the stunning saxophone work to the clean Stratocaster guitar to the soothing and full vocal approach to the abstract yet pointed lyrics to the outstanding backing vocals to the spotlessly perfect production, this song has all the earmarks of a great Floyd song. This song is what I had wished the last David Gilmour CD had sounded more like. Actually, that notion can be applied to this CD as a whole.

7) MR SERIOUS – I hear a touch of a RUSH influence here, but not overpoweringly. More interesting wordplay (“every day is April Fools, every night is Halloween”). I am quite impressed with the mixing on this track – lots of small detail here and there, placed exactly where it needs to be to be in the mix without being in-your-face or detracting from the song as a whole.

8 ) SOLITARY WORLD – Nice electronic music touches in the beginning, and beautiful organ and flute work frame a beautiful and soothing song. “If there’s no grand design and nothing we do matters, then the only thing that matters is what we do” – wow. I especially like the last minute or so of the song – some wonderful moody guitar and flute work.

9) JUNEAU – The third instrumental. I myself am very much a fan of instrumental music in general, but so much of it is uninteresting for the casual listener, and I can understand why not a lot of the public gets into it. The SONS do instrumental music the RIGHT way – it’s never boring, and you seem to find new things in every listen.

10) WO4 – No clue where that title comes from. If there is a song I like least on the CD, this is the one. That being said, it’s still a crazy interesting song, and I can’t help but wonder what was going on in the songwriter’s mind as this song came to be. Instead of the introspection and retrospection that is so prevalent in the rest of the lyrics on this CD, the story here is in-your-face and harsh. A bit of a wake-up call.

11) SAVING GRACE – I am very impressed with the SONS use of dynamics within their songs, and this song is probably most demonstrative of that. It goes from quiet and calm to louder and more impactful both musically and lyrically, and then settles comfortably back into the laid-back groove. More great musicianship, and more great lyrics – “In the morning we try to fix what’s broken, disown the words we’ve spoken, pretend we see through clearer eyes”

12) VISITING MUSSOLINI – On the outset, it would seem pretty ‘out there’ to write a song about Mussolini, the infamous fascist. But within the loose ‘concept’ of this CD, it works, and actually works well. It brings the ‘clarity’ theme back around, and provides the perfect closure for the CD. Again, excellent musical and vocal performances all around.


CLARITY is chock full of wonderful songwriting and inspired musical performance, all bound together with pristine production. The sequencing of the tracks is perfect, creating a great ebb and flow that takes the listener by the hand and leads them along the way from start to finish. Some might be put off by the number of instrumentals, but these are not your garden variety instrumentals – they are interesting, intriguing, and well executed.

I’d recommend this to ANY Pink Floyd or Kansas fan, any fan of progressive rock, and anybody who enjoys well-crafted, well-produced, thoughtful music.
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