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World Music CD Reviews North American


By Jill Ettinger

Test Pattern
Calliope Music/Razor & Tie

Sonia Dada's latest release Test Pattern is a dexterous studio montage from this Chicago-based nine-piece band known for its emphasis on rock, blues, gospel, world and R&B. Sampling Bollywood-style strings and drum loops on the opening "Moons Of Jupiter," folks familiar with Sonia Dada will recognize this latest effort to be other than typical for the band whose 2002 release Barefoot Soul was considerably less complex, though sonorous in its own right. The aptly named Test Pattern does not disappoint; this recording is full of catchy rock-meets-roll hooks on tracks like "Saturday," "Diggin' On The Road," "Take Back" and "Dark Visions." Rootsy, rustic gospel blues find their way onto the beautiful "Temple," "Gordon" and "Sylvia," offering a melancholy yet refreshing reminder that technology may serve those less talented superstars well (50 Cent, anyone?), but nothing rivals singing until it just plain hurts. In a music market where the good ol' guitar has taken a back seat to break beats and sampling ad nauseam, Sonia Dada provides a much needed soulful yin to the over-produced, designer yang.