• Bryon Harris

Sonar Lights - 'Babelonia'

Hailing from Texas, Sonar Lights is a rock trio with a lineup of powerful musicians: George Miadis, Vocals and Guitar; Darren Wise on Bass; and Doug McKenna, Drums. The band is on the rise in both the national and international music arena. In China, they made a splash at the Enter the Snake tour and played to huge crowds at China’s largest rock festival, the Midi Festival and again during their Year of the Horse tour. Their new anticipate CD, 'Babelonia' was release this month and it doesn't disappoint!

The first tack is "Wake Up" and it does what it promises - it wakes you up with a sound that is huge. This head-banging, monster rock song is what good rock is all about. The intro is all instrumental at a little over a minute setting up the stage with a melodic guitar and bass riffs, held together by hard-hitting drums, that set up a pattern throughout the song. It grinds, grooves, and pulses through your body. George Miadis enter in with vocals that lay above the thick track with ease, "You buy, comply. To fit into this void that takes your life." About four minutes into the track the band breaks into an instrumental jam with guitar and bass, in conversion, echoing each other's motifs, and giving all they've got. "Wake Up" is about the virtual world's ego and how that ego sucks you into it's void.

"Through the Eyes of a Son" is up next with a slightly more mellow introduction, a nice guitar pattern that plays a theme which is repeated throughout the song. With "Through the Eyes of a Son" the band proves their versatility using elements of nursery rhyme - "Hush now pretty baby don’t you cry. Momma's gonna love ya and dad will try." This melodic rock song has a strong, catchy chorus, "I wanna see the world through your eyes. Figure a way out. I wanna find out if there is a choice. I wanna see this life through your eyes. Keep me moving on." Hints of hope are offered, "There’s nothing that can’t be undone." The ending is haunting as single notes are played out.

The third track, "Take the Money and Run," showcases Doug McKenna's percussive chops with an impressive drum solo, almost a minute in length, that will blast you out of the room by the time it's finished. Enter in a thick and nicely distorted guitar and the foundation is set. "You better run. You better hide. "Cause I'm back in town." This is a song about forgetting the rules and Sonar Lights knows all about forgetting the rules; they push the boundaries in every song, offering up more sound than three people possibly can with sections that don't stick to convention, but jam out instead. "Take the Money and Run" is followed by "Rock is Dead." The lyrics talk about losing your soul to the shiny bubble, to material worship. You say that “change is copy what’s on the radio”You must be joking when youTurn around, smile and tell me:“Rock is dead.” Miadis delivers an emotive and passionate performance, almost a plea for an end to humanity's mediocrity. As in all the tracks, Darren Wise owns the bass.

For a special addition to this review, check out the band live performing "Wardance."

Mid-way through the CD, is "Interlude," an instrumental track that will grab you with it's intensity and beautiful violin-like phrases. Placed perfectly on the album, "Interlude" provides a moment to reflect. "Out of Time Out of Mind" gets back to business with a hard-rocking song about love and struggle. "You took my heart, you want my soul now." The chorus is strong and the guitar solo wails. Following is "Don't You Fade Way" which opens with a progressive guitar lick and a mellow vocal, "Close your eyes, imagine you can fly." The song's message is, "Make a stand, or else our hopes will die in fear."

The last track, and my favorite on the album, is "Reset." "Reset" starts with a melodic and muted chordal intro that softly pulses under the first verse. Miadis sings, "I had a dream last night. That I had an eagle's eyes. Watching for broken souls. In the circus of this world." It's very moving. In the last verse he answers with, "I had a dream last night that there was no hope in sight. Debt was too high to pay. No matter how hard we tried…" The chorus is phenomenal, sung with passion above the mix; Miadis is engaging and inviting and the melody is highly memorable. "If only we could reset the whole game.

Can we reset the whole game? I can't answer this question, but I can say that bands like "Sonar Lights" are paving the way - musically, lyrically, and politically - with songs that urge us to not only open our ears, but open our minds, to play outside the rules and to "Wake Up" which is exactly what is called for in our times. Sonar Lights, 'Babelonia,' can be purchases on iTunes. To learn more about the band, visit their website.