STREAM: Sabonis – Sabonis
Portland often gets pinned as one of those towns made for the young. If you live here, then you’ve probably heard the saying “Portland is where the young go to retire” (usually in a snarky tone). Yet, if one spends any significant amount of time in the city, then they’ll notice just how unfriendly it is to those under 21. Increasingly fewer all-ages show spaces and an inordinate amount of bars per capita. Hell, our movie theaters even have bars. I’ve often wondered what the younger crowd does for fun in this city. Apparently, they’re making music.
Given all this, I’m not entirely surprised it has taken me this long to hear about Sabonis or the projects it’s members were in before. It’s not that there’s no all-ages scene, but it’s only recently become more visible. Sabonis’ label, Good Cheer Records, can be partially thanked for that. Dedicating themselves to promoting and showcasing the younger talent around town, Good Cheer has done quite a bit in their relatively short existence through booking shows, starting conversations in the local press and of course, signing younger bands.
This write-up isn’t about Good Cheer or all-ages music though. That context is simply what I can honestly say is probably an unnecessary lead in to the first EP From Sabonis. This is what happens when you don’t pay a copy editor (plus I’ve gotta beef up that word count). Anyhow, this is hardly a complete review, but more of a “first thoughts” piece. Let’s (finally) get into it. Sabonis kicks off with “More Time.” The track sets the tone for the album, melancholy without being cloying. A slow build-up and the line “give me more time” repeats like a mantra throughout the track. The dual vocals really shine on “Mother Of All Ghosts” which has more in common with the sounds of early-80s Cherry Red Records than anything happening in the local indie scene. “Old Salt” is brooding and at times it seems as though the whole band might collapse in on itself. There’s a lot of catharsis happening on this one. “Say” starts off playing like an interlude of sorts (despite being track 4 on a 5 track EP), but by it’s end the song has swelled to a cacophony of voice and guitar. Closing the album is “Gone” which is perhaps the song I should’ve saved the mantra line for. The vocals on the song are more spoken statements of purpose than what’s been sung up until this point. It’s a strong finish to a strong EP.