In Review: Song Sung – This Ascension is Ours

After a four year transatlantic recording process, Song Sung release a debut album drenched in an occult atmosphere that stands out as an exceptional piece of soundscape creation.
Posted: 30 July 2020 Words: Alex Orr

After a peculiar song-writing journey situated between New York and Monaghan, Ireland, Song Sung (comprised of Irish-born, America-based twins Georgina and Uni McGeough) have finally released their debut LP This Ascension is Ours.

With producer David Holmes producing and arranging tracks, then sending the audio files to the duo to write lyrics and record vocals over, it’s quite possible that these tracks have travelled more miles than many people. The resulting album is an atmospheric (which, whilst probably the most overused word in indie music reviews, truly does apply here), spooky, and eclectic collection of songs that do a better job of forming a whole than acting as individuals.

Opening with a Lovecraftian invitation to "Come to the water", slow, pounding drums, bass drops, and a menagerie of sound effects and samples range from occult to pop-esque. It’s a memorable entrance to the album and effectively sets a tone for the horror-tinged, world-building record to come. 

Most tracks stay within the same constructed soundscape but add variety through tone and structure. ‘Telling Tales’ takes a more traditional song structure than it’s preceding opening track or following six-minute mini-epic ‘Somewhere’. With a weirdly anthemic chorus that's as catchy as it is ethereal, ‘Telling Tales’ is perhaps one of the more accessible tracks on the record. Lead single ‘Take Some Time’ and ‘The Minds Eye’ also make good cases for this title also but aren’t executed quite as well. 

Whilst the duo form typically structured, accessible songs with ease, they undoubtedly shine brightest when allowed to truly veer off into their art-inspired fantasies. Album standout ‘Testimony of Tears’ combines all elements of the album well, with a post-rock-inspired structure lending itself incredibly well to reverb-laden, breathy vocals, a simple but prominent running bass line and slowly-uplifting instrumentation, all of which combust in a crescendo of atmosphere and sound before fading into nothing. 

One caveat with this album is that despite its modest ten-track listing, it feels a little bloated - with running time reaching an hour, the average song length is between 5-6 minutes long. For a group that are still crafting a unique, unrefined sound, this feels like overexposure. 

However, This Ascension Is Ours paints a distinctive atmosphere in a genre where many try but fail to craft a sound specific to themselves, accomplishing an interesting and astonishingly unusual composition. This must be applauded, but the goal now for the group is to build something more on the foundation this album has created for them. 

This Ascension Is Ours is out this Friday (31st July) via Night Time Stories Ltd.

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