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Sipo
Year Of The White Rose
(self-released)


Solo artist Sipo takes the art form of atmospheric-pop and sands it, shapes it and translates it into svelte guitar ringlets as the rhythm section of bassist Drew Moss and drummers Max Cuzor and Robi Gonzalez orbit around his fanned-out vocals doled out in elegant wisps. Sipo's latest record, Year Of The White Rose, has bubbles of spacey synths that show the allure of Phoenix flanked by rivers of shimmering effects and Spanish-flavored guitar strings. The songs are clothed in warm esthetics and jewels of ambient beads that have a dulcet luster relatable to the smooth sonic cinders of Gomez, most noticeable in the sleekly bristled strokes of "White Light."

The Spanish tints in Sipo's guitar rings rise and fall lovely through the dales of "He Who Has Ears Let Him Hear" forming fissures of sweet wavy motions, while the taut gashes that squall across "In Skin" have a harsh searing. The spiritual feel of "Love If You Lay" is embellished by the seraphic resonance in Sipo's guitar strings and the undulating slopes of his vocals. The tracks are purposely waxed in a shoegaze polish, like in "A Thousand Times No" which has a likeness to Starflyer 59, and a folksy-tempered coasting along the winding turns of "Burning Slow." Sipo's vocals rise and descend with the ease of an ocean breeze caressing a sandy beach. It's a safe and familiar sensation that adds to the songs' affable nature. The pensive strokes of Sipo's guitar along "Rise' have a moonlight glow as Sipo's vocals make a series of dramatic sweeps pouring out his soul in the lyrics, "Death is not the end / It is always the beginning, my love… Do not be afraid / Receive the gift of faith / Draw the strength / Do not let confusion reign." Sipo's guitar solo of soaring spirals is magnificent and inject a shot of passion for living into the track.

A good chunk of Year Of The White Rose may sound familiar to listeners. He wears his influences on his sleeves, and their shadows are present throughout the record. Even still, the songs allow Sipo to exercise his prowess as a multi-dimensional guitarist and dramatic singer. The atmospheric veneer on the tracks can be traced to a number of other artists, but Sipo pulls his own weight through these songs and has merely scratched the surface of what he can do with this art form.

-Susan Frances

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