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Sweet Gum Tree - The Snakes You Charm and The Wolves You Tame (Dreamy Bird)

Star rating: 
4

Although Arno Sojo's emotive vocals may divide listeners at the start of his debut solo release THE SNAKES YOU CHARM & THE WOLVES YOU TAME, it's highly likely that a union of satisfied listeners will form as the album progresses. What begins as a pretty standard, perhaps slightly overblown pop record soon evolves into a captivating, layered showcase of the French songwriter's craft.

Indeed, a close reading of Sojo's lyrics provides something of a revelation – here we have a wordsmith whose poetry could easily stand alone. Lines such as “Culminating in a white room bathed in light / Along pillow conversations slowly they entwined / Her golden curls, his copper hair” (New Rays) and “Somewhere the cold would not penetrate / A shelter made of trust that grief could not infiltrate” (November Daughter) exemplify the sinews and flourishes of Sojo's lyrical prowess.
 
Remarkable, then, that the dexterity of Sojo's pen is only illuminated by the lavish and somewhat dreamy nature of the music. A lush orchestral backing lifts each song on this record to dizzying heights, along with Sojo's crisp and ornate acoustic fingerpicking. THE SNAKES YOU CHARM & THE WOLVES YOU TAME is a high-quality collection of thoughtful ballads set against an incandescent backdrop of swirling string arrangements and delightfully languid chamber pop.
 
Liam Wilkinson
Northern Sky