Reservations - Sodastream
Russell Degnan

If I was to make a list of the bands I thought the most under-rated (in Australia at least), then Sodastream may well come at the top of it. If I was to make another list of bands I don't play as often as they deserve, then they would be near the top of that as well. They are just that kind of band: slightly arty and pretentious, slow and rhythmic, with the odd jaunty tune to keep you interested. And really good in a way that reminds me, every time I remember to play them, that I've now got four of their albums on the shelf for good reason.

Originally from Perth, for a long time settled in Melbourne, Sodastream were briefly very popular thanks to a John Peel plug. They have retained some of that popularity overseas, and tour there often; which may explain why they are criminally over-looked in this country. Essentially a two piece, 'extra' band members abound, but the fundamental sound remains that of Karl Smith on guitar and vocals and Pete Cohen on double bass. Comparisons are difficult, but perhaps the closest I can think of is Simon and Garfunkel; that same mix of slightly depressing folk and complex pop, but with the double bass fairly throbbing and humming through every song.

Reservations is not substantially different to their earlier work. The album starts very slow, becomes up-beat, before drifting into slower, more lyrical songs as it progresses. The slow stuff can seem tedious if, like me, you aren't listening to the lyrics and have it as the background to yet another tedious blog post; but for the most part, their songs are self contained, relatively short and reward a close listen. If I have any musical credibility left (and one doubts that I do), scoop up the remaining chips and bet it on this album.

Track Highlights
Twin Lakes - Sure it is unrepresentative, but I'm a pop junky, and this song could get a nursing home of hard of hearing elderly citizens tapping their feet.
Anniversary - A piano piece. Think Nightswimming, but longer, though less annoying.
Michelle's Cabin - A short instrumental song. Essentially a bridge to the second half of the album but pretty for all that.
Firelines - A typically moody Sodastream song, the double bass and guitar combining beautifully.
Reservations - The title track is a little cliched with its harmonica and backing vocals, but it has a nice pop ethic.

Finer Things 29th June, 2006 02:04:45   [#] 


Reservations - Sodastream
Thanks for the tip off Russ, I've been meaning to check this band out for a while and now I certainly will.
James  30th June, 2006 03:15:02  

Reservations - Sodastream
great review, just read crap article about them in Melb Mag that just annoyed me. But after reading your blog Im back on board - cheers
Ramona  1st July, 2006 00:13:42  

Reservations - Sodastream
Ramona, thankyou.

James, you are welcome. For what it is worth, they are playing the Northcote Social Club this Saturday and Sunday. I may go down on the latter.
Russ  1st July, 2006 01:02:48  

To the person whose comment I accidentally just deleted. I am really sorry, my mouse slipped.

From what I remember of it. I really do like the album, and I've been playing it a lot. Though I prefer their much earlier stuff better, particularly Looks Like a Russian which it is not too dissimilar from in some ways.
Russ  23rd July, 2006 20:16:08