Seattle’s somesurprises Dazzles with Gauzy and Exceptional Self-Titled Album (KEXP Premiere)

Local Music, KEXP Premiere
Dusty Henry
photo by Mohsin Ali

A few weeks ago, I found myself at Seattle’s Clock-Out Lounge to catch a set. We got there early and the evening’s headliners, somesurprises, were still sound-checking. Some friends and I sat in the back nursing our drinks, mesmerized by the swaths of gauzy, celestial sounds filling the room. There’s something about somesurprises that doesn’t just demand the attention of the room but transforms the room itself. The trembling tremolos, rapturous reverb, and the otherworldly voice of songwriter Natasha El-Sergany seemed to transcend time and space. When the music filled the room, you had no choice but to be immersed in its heavenly embrace.

That same feeling is captured astoundingly on the band’s self-titled record, out Sept. 20 via Drawing Room Records. El-Sergany’s writing has often veered toward expansive arrangements and swirling vocal effects, like on 2017’s Serious Dreams, but somesurprises brings a new level of sheen to her writing and the project’s recordings.

“Empty Threat” breathlessly moves from beat to beat, El-Sergany’s voice serving as the grounding for the cloudly instrumentation. It’s a walking daydream, rising and falling with sharp guitar leads and powerful-yet-distant drumming. It’s a similar feeling you get with songs like “Late July,” though with an added element of sinister longing. The band even incorporates some heady twang with “Country Sun” and lets loose with the high-energy rocker “High Rise.”

The album culminates with the nearly nine-minute closer “Cherry Sunrise.” A slow build of paralleling guitar lines starts to gain momentum with the pounding of drums and a stuttering bass. The sound grows and grows, pushing out its boundaries further as the song transforms into a different beast from meter to meter. All of somesurprises strengths are on full-display – a logical conclusion to the array of experimentation showcased earlier on the record. For an album that commands the senses, “Cherry Sunrise” closes out the record with a stunning, rambling jam. I wouldn’t mind if this one stretched out infinitely.

Ahead of the album’s release, KEXP is offering an exclusive early stream of the record below. You can catch somesurprises in Seattle next on Oct. 2 at The Central Saloon with WEEED and iji’s Zach Burba.

Pre-orders are available now.

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