Album Review: Sweet Gum Tree – Sustain the Illusion

Sweet Gum Tree is the musical mind-child of French troubadour Arno Sojo who has been wowing the world with his immersive and alternative take on pop music. This year we are lucky enough to see the release of his second album Sustain the Illusion which is a musical marvel that can be revelled in time and again.

Sojo is a phenomenally talented musician and songwriter who pours all of his energies and efforts into his work and the result is a series of songs that are as delicate and finely crafted as porcelain but as firm and grounded as an oak tree. He has created a rich and commanding sound, crackling with energy and power that sends shivers down your spine and demands attention. Sojo and his work seem to represent a brand of alternative pop but in some respects he is the personification of anti-pop music. He tentatively crafts his own versions of events and brings them to life in a new breed of music. Tentative synth, soft guitar melodies, resonant drum machine beats and fluttering violins all meld together in a variety of fusions that blend everything from 80s pop to modern folk rock and everything in between.

Working naturally alongside his stunning compositions is the unique depth and range of Sojo’s vocals. Tinged with an incredibly subtle French lilt, Sojo has a deep and resounding voice that bursts out through his work. Versatile and ready to adapt to his myriad of styles his vocals hit highs and lows that others might only dream of all the while lulling and soothing you. Mingled together with his tightly bound orchestral work the result is a soft series of songs that leave you strikingly at peace. Beyond this, Sojo’s lyrics are tender, evocative and easily identifiable. The close manner in which they are delivered leaves you with a warm and kindly feeling that goes hand-in-hand with his work.

Sustain the Illusion is a masterfully created album from a musician with a broad range and scope who brings music to life in an unorthodox and almost revolutionary manner. His blurs the lines across a variety of genres and reinvents his music time and time again.

Watch the single ‘Someday’

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Review by Joe Knipe

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